Date of Birth
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.