For Camz, a Daughter on Her Birthday

You are seventeen and I am alone

In Los Angeles with the memories.

I count the stars in the dark night

Over Redondo Beach and I see you,

Bright with your smiles like the dawn

That waits up on me. I see you now

More than ever in this riot of colors

The summer brings, my second absence.

You count the years of distances

With the bursting of flowers in gardens,

Yards and the wild wide spaces before me.

I count the days. They last as years,

Decades, generations, centuries

Even as I hear now the cheerful chorus

Of birds in the front yard you sometimes

Sweep in the ritual of tears when your mother

Tells you in her big voice, commanding

As ever even as she reminds you to blow

The candle and make your three wishes.

Aurelio S. Agcaoili

June 2004

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