the moment when, after many years
of hard work and many tubs of expensive face cream,
you stand in the centre of your room,
apartment, house, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and exclaim, It’s OK now. I’m OK.

its at the same moment when all unwritten letters
thunder down from the sky above you,
the unsung birthday songs play in loop,
the bike you’ve never ridden, the boys who were never warned.
the air moves back from you like a wave,
bits of him on the shore like bones and shells.

no, they whisper. almost, but not quite.
every year an extra candle is lit
and there you are proclaiming confidence.
you made a joke last night, and your husband laughed,
open-mouthed and loose,
and you saw the wrinkling in the corners of his quiet, brown eyes.

and in a flash, you wonder what your father’s face looks like now
tobacco-brown skin and old, and you realise
you may never actually be OK. at least,
when you remember.

but for now, you’re doing your best.

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