Is It Really Science Fiction?
I will wait in line on my fortieth birthday,
Surprised that here and now,
It is like another day,
But since I read science fiction,
I may be waiting in line,
On a Fortieth Birthday Planet.
The queue is composed of other birthday women and men,
Anticipating a present they may actually like,
Avoiding anxiety attacks like the plague,
Looking for the past in a historical revision,
Trying to escape from the space dock,
Waiting for someone to say . . .
“Sure, you’ve made all of the right choices.”
Unexpectedly the clerk at the window gives me a missive proclaiming:
"Congratulations, you are president of the Fortieth Birthday Planet for one day!"
The poet laureate at my rapid inauguration makes profound statements:
“The bits of fate that make us,
Do not stay with us to explain,
They fly away like strangers we encounter
On boats or planes we did not expect to take.”
Vendors sell Pez containers,
The band plays inspirational songs,
I sign several peace treaties,
And redesign space travel as we know it.
Then the day–or mystery of day–is done.
Waking on forty-plus-one-day,
Secrets are with me,
Normality has a special hue--
Like Veuve Clicquot in Waterford crystal,
Like a diamond bracelet on a gloved hand,
Like being right most of the time.
(written for my sister-in-law Maggie, 1999)