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Birth Day

For Alexandra, born May 17, 1999

Armored in red, her voice commands
every corner. Bells gong on squares,
in steeples, answering the prayers.
Bright tulips crown the boulevards.

Pulled from the womb she imitates
that mythic kick from some god's head.
She roars, and we are conquered.
Her legs, set free, combat the air.

Naked warrior: she is our own.
Entire empires are overthrown.

—Elise Paschen

from Birthday Poems: A Celebration, 2002
Thunder's Mouth Press, New York, NY

Copyright 2002 by Elise Paschen.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Thunder's Mouth Press from Birthday Poems: A Celebration. Copyright 2002 by Elise Paschen. For further permissions information, contact Elise Paschen, c/o The Writing Program, The School of Art Institute of Chicago, 37 South Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603.

Poetry 180

About the Poet

Elise Paschen is the co-founder of Poetry in Motion, a program that places poetry posters in trains and buses across the United States. She has written three poetry collections, including Bestiary (Red Hen Press, 2009).

Learn more about Elise Paschen at The Poetry Foundation.