Jack Powers, “On Turning 61”

Jack Powers is the author of Everybody’s Vaguely Familiar. His poems have appeared in The Southern Review, The Cortland Review, Poet Lore, and elsewhere. He won the 2015 and 2012 Connecticut River Review Poetry Contests and was a finalist for the 2013 and 2014 Rattle Poetry Prizes. He recently retired after teaching special education in Redding, Connecticut for 38 years. Visit his website: http://www.jackpowers13.com/poetry/.

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On Turning 61

For Katie

Consider this as your heart beats so steady for so long you’ve forgotten
you’re always counting to its steady bumpbumpbump. Listen to your lungs
swell and ease beneath your breast, companions from the moment
you popped into this world. You’ve known the fear,
the unfairness, the stranger in the mirror, the thickened tongue,
the distance from yourself and everyone, yet now you sit
at this table, your hale and good husband intent at his own good work,
your children off composing babies and song—
oh, that grandgirl grows so fast!

And here in this little pond where you spend your days, you are famous,
on a first-name basis with the only world that matters right now
as you quarter your avocado. Could you be any richer in this moment,
carving out its hard seed, peeling away its dark skin, dicing cubes,

green-yellow just-ripe meat, before dropping it on your greens,
and stealing a bite off the knife’s edge?

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