On Your Thirty-Ninth Birthday
We walk on woodchips in October
while he sings the Beatles.
His hands are so large, calloused:
my baseball mitts.
Those same hands that place a waterski in my own,
that knead seven-year-old spines
whisper of sparrows
and gold nuggets every night.
This is the same man who illegally weights
our blue Weeblo race cars (we win)
and ferries birthday parties of six-year-olds
around in the green go-cart he built himself.
In winter he becomes Chanukah Harry
with a long martial artist’s braid.
Every summer he is the River King,
flanked by egrets and swallows,
a rooster tail pluming out behind him
as his body skids just inches above the water.
He tows cousins, endures every “one last time,”
follows teen rowers carving oar in eddy.
He sings the Beatles one rainy day in February,
injecting oranges with insulin.
He always leaves the sprinklers on too long
so we can sprint after leprechauns.
Hands so rough yet perfect for shaking.
Ocean child with windy hair, he sings.
Gentle Pop with holiday eyes, she sings back.
she loves you all across the universe.