Parents celebrate their son’s birthdays with poetry and photographs. Coming soon. Jeff Jacobson, Photographer. Marnie Andrews, Poet. Seeking publication. Leaf photo of family by Elizabeth Herman

Parents celebrate their son’s birthdays with poetry and photographs.
Marnie Andrews, Poet. Jeff Jacobson, Photographer.
Photo – Elizabeth Herman


The Years Before The Children

All day I’ve thought, trying to remember
that moment,
Hoping the fears of the child on the way
would not make me forget
that first squirm I felt
as we walked down the stairs,
when sun danced off his eyes
as he said,
“These are the years before the children.”
That same day, as we warmed by the fire,
I knew only months remained
before our time as two would end.
Everything held omens.
His cat died, mine was sickly,
We were high. An
unsigned chain letter the
fire wouldn’t burn-
once, twice, three times I tried-
finally lay in twisted ash.
We stayed by the fire,
wrote, laughed, photographed
as only lovers do,
While secretly I knew
we were already three.




This child that moves my pen
with his smile
then stalls it with his whine,
it’s his day, not mine,
though his day becomes my own
to gauge a year by.

How long is a year
that I somehow forget
how I screamed when his coming
rubbed my spine raw,
how I couldn’t feel love,
just relief, not awe?

How short is a year
that he somehow transformed
from a monster all bloodied
from tears in my womb
that squirmed, barely breathing,
quiet on my chest,
to a dressed, self-propelling,
welcomed house-guest?

This day, his day,
birthday of one
year, I remember
I finally yelled


So I loaned the bot my book of cats
and felt good about it-
Bot? I meant boy
Boy Tot. Bot.
That one with whom a
loaned book is
taking the risk of
never seeing that book whole again.

So I loaned the bot my book of cats
and felt good about it.
Good got by giving
that boy tot
a close look,
and taking the risk of
never seeing myself alone again.

At 20

When first you leapt upon that empty stage,
With grace too new for me to recognize,
Your countenance transformed into a sage
And grew beyond your youth before my eyes.
At home within the bridle of Bard words,
And stunning in your beauty’s sweet surprise,
You sang your heart’s flight, soaring as young birds,
New taught, on new-formed wing, first time in rise.
Then tuning to my pulse, its quickened beat,
And sensing my past beauty in its gray,
Your lips on forehead, smiling in their greet,
Carried my hopes to hold another day.
Between each time we meet, you newly grow
An ancient gaze, with so much yet to know!

for Henry, after his 1st Hamlet

The In Between

For Henry’s 32nd

Cling to a belief that Time will not go forward,
Sixty is just another year, as is thirty-two for you,
my dear. A birthday passes too quickly to celebrate.
I pretend not to notice my mate’s thinning hair,
I refuse to believe the darkness, now permanent,
beneath my eyes. I work with students each year,
always young. Though they are different people
Their age remains the same, so why can’t I?
And so, I must, so must you…

But you, at thirty-two, long past school, past a
marriage, and into your career, live with the one you might have
children with, down the road a piece.
How long can you postpone? Or she, being
your age, stay at a remove from that
long, short race with Time?

You have the luxury of the in-between,
the comfort of sharing time with her when you want,
and when you don’t, the blessing of that
pursuit which moves you,
the visual recording of others
moving through their times.

I pretend the end isn’t waiting, you stride too far behind my time to see it
there, in front of you. Your life expands,
with only what you choose to limit it.

I turn around, ignore that yawning night ahead,
to watch your delight
As your sight
lights on my eyes.