Claiming Days as our Own, 2021

I tell everyone how

I share a birthday

with the Reverand Dr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Though we commemorate it

on a moving Monday.

I celebrate both.

I claim the whole month.

Country songs ask us

to live like we are dying.

Which we all are.

Our birthdays point out

someone changed their lives

rapidly, seismically, for ours.

My father-in-law loves to say

his birth marks an anniversary

of Mother Teresa’s, though it’s really

her baptism date, another kind of birth.

Now we have twins

starting their 3rd year

on their 2nd birthday,

the last day in February

on a non leap-year.

After the wildest two

years of our lives:

birth,

pandemic,

election,

marches,

and otherwise.

Coming

We aren’t under the
tornado warning,
at least not officially,
but I can hear the sirens
from a long way off.

Like any whistle blown
in advance of a train.

The protests sound
out loud and clear:

Pay Attention.

Put down what
you were doing.

Look,
Black lives matter.

Now, what
you do with
your one life matters.

Where will you stand,
in the old weather
circling back around?