A Poem (and a Painting)

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Painting: Birthday by Marc Chagall
Birthday by Marc Chagall (1887-1985) 1915. Oil on cardboard. Museum of Modern Art © 2009 Artists Rights Society, New York / ADAGP, Paris
ANY_CHARACTER_HERE

Crossroads

ANY_CHARACTER_HERE

The second half of my life will be black

to the white rind of the old and fading moon.

The second half of my life will be water

over the cracked floor of these desert years.

I will land on my feet this time,

knowing at least two languages and who

my friends are. I will dress for the

occasion, and my hair shall be

whatever color I please.

Everyone will go on celebrating the old

birthday, counting the years as usual,

but I will count myself new from this

inception, this imprint of my own desire.

ANY_CHARACTER_HERE

The second half of my life will be swift,

past leaning fenceposts, a gravel shoulder,

asphalt tickets, the beckon of open road.

The second half of my life will be wide-eyed,

fingers shifting through fine sands,

arms loose at my sides, wandering feet.

There will be new dreams every night,

and the drapes will never be closed.

I will toss my string of keys into a deep

well and old letters into the grate.

ANY_CHARACTER_HERE

The second half of my life will be ice

breaking up on the river, rain

soaking the fields, a hand

held out, a fire,

and smoke going

upward, always up.

ANY_CHARACTER_HERE

—Joyce Sutphen

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