Lilacs on My Birthday

Lilacs on My Birthday

Lilacs on My Birthday

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A weekly poem, read by the author.
April 4 2001 3:00 AM

Lilacs on My Birthday

The flowerets look edible before they open,
like columns of sugar dots on pulpy strips
I bought as a child. It was hard to bite the candy

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without some paper adhering, like adding machine tape
to large, red numbers. Lilacs are like that; another year
unspools without major accomplishment,

while I question "major" and "accomplishment."
And when I find in Costco those clusters
of brilliant pointillist pastel, I hope they will become

someone else's nostalgia—honorable emotion
propelling Ulysses toward Ithaca, and a woman
to set lilacs in her dooryard as her mother did.

Joyce Peseroff's third book of poems is Mortal Education.