18 = 2 × 9
Whose mom’s birthday’s Feb. 9? Mine!
2/9/18 may not seem
That cool to some, but it’s a dream
To an arithmophiliac
Who loves when numbers love them back.
Look: 2 from 9 is 1 from 8 —
A pair of sevens! Just luck? Wait,
In case you’re craving base 10 action,
Just convert the complex fraction
Two-ninths over eighteen to
A decimal: Point oh one two
Three four five six seven (no eight)
Nine…then around again! That’s great
All by itself, but there’s a bonus
In that missing eight: The onus
Of its absence fades a bit
By those two digits flanking it.
What’s the deal with seven-nine?
You ask your mom, I’ll ask mine
And one of us will learn its worth
(One hint: Don’t think of year of birth)
But I won’t share the answer here.
Happy birthday, Mommy dear!
You have a place to live; a car;
A great career where you’ll go far;
A wide variety of friends;
A sense of where the sidewalk bends,
And where it’s cracked, and where it ends;
A fine appreciation for
Absurdity; a moral floor;
An artist’s eye (he wants it back);
A plan for when the ducks attack;
A love of running when the skies
Are lachrymose; good taste in ties;
More mismatched pairs of socks than most;
A solid recipe for toast;
A rubber chicken (okay, eight);
A funny story when you’re late;
A pencil (sometimes); whimsy; style;
A year of life for every mile
In a marathon (today);
A gift for mixing work and play;
About as many hands as feet;
An instinct for what not to eat
While vomiting; and, most of all,
That other thing I can’t recall
Right now, but, you know, that. What can
I offer, then, to such a man
To supplement the list above?
Respect, a Starbucks card, and love.
My grown-up girl,
I’d like to say,
It seems as if
The tender age
Was what the world’d
Tattooed on you.
We watched the moon
Both rise and sink,
Then Sunday’s sun
Fell on the ink
And, lo, the digits
But who can tell
It’s not like they
Which might express
A sequence change
With eyebrow hands
Or something strange
Like fingers sprouting
From your cheeks,
That stuff takes weeks!)
My point is,
You’re still twenty-two,
And I am still
In awe of you.
Pull out your iPhone: Siri, what’s the date?
“2/24, YOUR GRANDMOTHER’S BIRTHDAY!”
How much is twice her age? “TWO HUNDRED EIGHT.”
That many years seems awfully far away,
But think about it: Someone Grandma’s age
When she was born (before the
First Great War)
Debuted when most of those who strut the stage
In Hamilton were quite alive! What’s more,
The president (at least for one more week)
Was Thomas Jefferson, who yielded then
To Madison; if history you seek
In writing, ours was written by these men.
One lifetime led then to my Grandmama
Who celebrates today. I am in awe.
The anniversary of you
We celebrate today. It’s true
We’re continents apart, but still
Just listen to your heart: You will
Detect a murmur. That’s from me!
I am your cardiopathy
(If that’s a word), as you are mine.
We share arrhythmia, a spine
That curls just a bit too much,
A sensitivity to touch
From solar radiation, too.
I’m proud that part of me is you.
I hope your natal day is blessed
With opportunity for rest
And relaxation. Please, refuse
Entreaties to turn on the news!
Today’s your day. Renounce! Resist!
If pressed, take Liz’s lead: Persist.
Ignore that boorish 45.
Feel joy, like me, that you’re alive!
Happy, Birthday-Haver, happy!
Hope your natal day’s not crappy.
Age, you know, is just a number.
If it’s high, you may seek slumber.
When you wake, you’re that much older,
Though, so staying wakeful’s bolder
And resembles death much less.
Do we prefer you lifelike? Yes!
In summation, have a day
Delightful! Or at least okay.
Chauffeur du monde, we tip our hats
To you (et nos chapeaux). Congrats!
Today you have successfully
Completed lap one hundred three
Around the sun without dislodging
Helen Johnson Collins! Dodging
Comets, NASA probes and dust
Whilst coddling my grandma must
Be taxing. That’s why you’re a star!
You’ve done an awesome job so far
And we applaud you. One more thing
We’d like to ask: Please help us sing
The (public domain!) Birthday Song
To her? We’ll start, you sing along,
And when we get to that part, please
Include her middle name (Louise).
Merci! Drive safely! We’ll be here
For one-oh-four same time next year!