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For Violet, on Your 12th Birthday

The strangest days, the strangest times!
We’re wearing masks; the shops are closed;
And school is through the laptop now.
Decades in the future you’ll
Recall this all, and tell the tale
To folks too young to know.
I long for days to be a bit
Less memorable than now,
But in a way it’s fun to say
That you are in it, living through
A monumental moment, one
For every book that people write
About this year in coming years.

But don’t forget the sun still sets
On bad days like the good. The sun
Keeps rising, earth keeps spinning, spring
Keeps coming every year for us
No matter what. And spring means what?
Your birthday’s here again of course!
We love you, growing 12-year-old.

For a while at least, time is ours,
As it always should have been
(But we had somehow let it slip
Away to empty silliness:
To silly cars on silly streets
To silly jobs that never pay
Enough to justify the waste).
Yes, time is ours again. Let’s make
A more humane life now for us,
A life where we will sit beneath
The apple tree in our front yard
And watch the bees and butterflies
And wait for the noisy cats to tire
Of chasing birds and sit beside
Us there. We listen to the wind,
We listen to our breaths, we feel
Our heartbeat, soft. Our time is ours.

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