To My Daughter on Her Birthday
by Clarence Wolfshohl

You are the child of a beautiful evening,
the dessert of dinner out, the soft lyrics
of Judy Collins on the stereo, the brightest
candle on my birthday celebration.

Can you still taste the lasagna?
The sauce rich, thick, warming
on that cold February evening?
Your mother and I smiled when we both
pushed the garlic bread aside, knowing
dessert would be so much sweeter.

Can you still hear those songs?
about Western girls waiting for their rodeo
lovers to return? About birds on wires,
whales and nightingales, blue northers?
That high, sweet voice lilting over the house?

Can you still feel that moment?
Your mother’s strength, her heart beat,
the warmth of her breath, her perfume’s
journey across and into our bodies?
The glow of creation, my birthday wish?

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