a birthday poem for Susan
Today is my birthday–almost 50–
and I’ve been thinking about Susan Mobley.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Susan lately.
We went to school together our whole lives,
and while we weren’t close, I remember
slumber parties at my house and hers at the
beach, celebrating birthdays together.
She looked like Skipper, Barbie’s little sister:
a sheet of thick straight hair, freckles dancing.
She was always tanned brown because she loved
the water–she could surf when we barely
could paddle her board out to sea. She was
always at the beach, with us on the sand
by the pier or in the waves, or at her
family’s Faria beach house near Rincon.
When we graduated from high school, I
lost track of her and she me: we weren’t
that close of friends. I don’t remember
one way or another whether she came
to any reunions I attended;
she probably did. College, family, homes
take us in separate directions from our
childhoods. We don’t miss people usually.
At Macy’s the other day, Tami Osborne told
me the news about Susan, how she
died trying to rescue her boys in a
boating accident: one she saved, one drowned
with her. Hard to believe, to hear–we hugged.
Today as I near 50, desperately
in love with my small, gifted, precious boy,
ambivalent about so much, I know
I would gladly give my life in that way.
I would gladly pass on my life to Susan
if she could then save herself and her son.
c. Gwendolyn Alley aka Art Predator 01/11/10
Originally uploaded by alan_sailer
Although it is dangerous to assume the speaker in a poem, the “I” is the author of the poem, in this case the “I” in the poem, is the author, is me. I really have been thinking about Susan and it really is my birthday today, and when I woke up this morning, I had to write this down. I post poetry at least every Monday on this blog, so there’s plenty all over this site, especially poetry from the 3:15 Experiment. You can find more poetry on the Train.