Preparing for Experience

October 23, 2003

We’ve done my birthday walk
at the beach every year since I was eleven.
The last time was wonderful, but afterwards
your legs folded up under you.

You took me into town
and bought me two eye liner pencils.
I asked you to help me choose a color
even though you hadn’t worn makeup in weeks.

We went to the candy shop
and I picked out twenty pieces of salt water taffy.
One for every year I’ve been alive.
Every year we’ve been together.

We both loved Billy Joel.
Only the Good Die Young.
Until now
that was just a song with a good beat.

We wanted to keep walking
our lives pulled by the same tide,
but your steps got weaker and smaller
with every wave that rippled under our toes.

The next time I saw you
your experience was heading out of mine.
I wasn’t prepared.
You couldn’t wait.

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