For Olivia, on Your Third Birthday
by Morgan S. Grether
Spring sits on the city; winter is done. (It took
The earth four turns to show you one at last,
A real spring, yes, real seasons and not mere
Flipping of the calendar, and heck, it took
It 37 turns to show your mom,
A child of the South, where "hot" and "not-so-hot"
Can qualify as seasons, but are just
Two separate settings on the window air
Conditioner.) It seems a Portland spring
Is not a stable season, rolling through
A brilliant sun and chilly clouds, a tug
Of war that really lasts the whole year long.
Our spring sits hot and then it's cold; the sun
Is bright and then it's gone. The only thing
That stays the same here is the green, green leaves,
The green, green grass, which makes the city seem
A far too western island of Ireland. Such life!
Everything's alive, alive. It's hard
To be nostalgic in this boundless birth,
Eternal present, but we had a guest
In our house last week, an ancient alley cat
Named Chester, who reminded me our time
Is short, too short at that. He made me think
Of how you've changed in just these first few months
This year, yes, how you were a baby when
The snows came after Christmas and you're now
A girl, dancing, laughing, poised, with friends
And schoolmates, and a host of memories
All your own already, and this globe
Keeps spinning round with season after season...
But you've no need to come to me for what
The weather's doing. You may not be three
Quite yet -- a few days left for two -- and yet
You know which way the wind doth blow -- at least
Where the hot air is, with such a dad
As this one you have gotten from God's dice.