Date of Birth

Kathleen Peirce



Where have you been, what did you do

to make yourself appear? Summer’s moment

was over, the way was made for larger weather

by the day you were born. Without self-sacrifice

you appeared; no one in the room

was smaller or less ephemeral. Marble of earth

who grew to be the astronaut who said

the earth is like a marble. Perfume of forests

way down there. Temples to the right

and left of the eyes like everyone. Rose, ruby,

cheek, lip. You kept pressing, being told

the sun doesn’t lower itself down.

Death straightaway was recognized as

guaranteed by every miracle. You embryo.

You kite-mother’s daughter. You hushed baby

sailor in calm weather seeking out the one

who will offer another bag of wind.




Kathleen Peirce’s poetry collections include Mercy, The Oval Hour, and The Ardors. Her work has been awarded The AWP Prize for Poetry, The Iowa Prize, and The William Carlos Williams Award. She is the recipient of fellowships from The Whiting Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, and The Guggenheim Foundation. Kathleen Peirce teaches poetry in the MFA program at Texas State University.



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