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The Birthday

I'm driving tonight into November.
The cold black sky is coming at me
and before I know it
it snuffs out the gold October glow
I left behind in Charlottesville,
those calendar leaves, the big ball sun
setting behind the rolling steeplechase-
its little obstacles casting shadows-
the lighted windows on the darkening hill,
silhouettes of hosts in my rearview mirror,
the last orange light on Foxfield Road.
Into the dark I can speed east and think
of the last night in October, Halloween,
when you were born thirty years ago.

Or I could not think of that night,
I know you'll be glad if I don't. It's still
today in Los Angeles, you're looking 
for work. We're both looking for work
to keep us in days to get up.
I like this night highway blacking out
autumn, making us one with all seasons.
Only my headlights and pairs of red taillights
ahead, you turning thirty where the leaves never
fall, the children not masked yet, the last sun
of the month still in the sky.

—Elizabeth Seydel Morgan

from Five Points, Summer 2001 Volume 5, Number 3
Georgia State University

Copyright 2001 by Elizabeth Seydel Morgan.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Elizabeth Seydel Morgan from Five Points, Summer 2001 Volume 5, Number 3. Copyright 1998 by Elizabeth Seydel Morgan. For further permissions information, contact Five Points, Georgia State University, Megan Sexton, Managing Editor.

Poetry 180

About the Poet

Elizabeth Seydel Morgan is the author of five books, including Spans: New and Collected Poems (Louisiana State University Press, 2014).

Learn more about Elizabeth Seydel Morgan at The Poetry Foundation.