On every anniversary
one wonders where one's voice is
in the world:
who might listen,
or read,
and why you surround yourself
with some who don't--
even to their own drummer--
a bit beaten
the voice
not aged in your head
but smiling the optic
optimism of youth, perhaps not grown
nor growing:
where is it in the winds?
a leaf or winter bird?


The guard is to keep from comparisons
and see today as yesterday, future sure,
or the middle ground of compromise
will burn out in self-lit candles
celebrating it heard, but not speaking.
Clean the brush
while waiting for the cake
and stop apologizing:
candles don't know their length
any more than champagne
at life's banquet.