this is what 40 looks like

in brunch circle
sarah says she can feel growth when she
is in my presence and alline
who made the sweet small chocolate cake
with meringue ghosts (which made me swoon
with memory of my mama’s witchy ghosty cakes
complete with colored coconut and licorice strings
for hair) lets the tears do the talking about
generosity and encouragement
around words and writing and
trish says sisterhood and ted says
team spirit and joseph says cackle and baigz says this
gesturing to look around at all the fabulousness
(in sequins and other finery) i have summoned to surround us with
and mica and june both say things
that i now forget
but perhaps mica will help me remember


trish and baigz on horns
and cynthia on mobile sound system
(boom box strapped to bike rack)
ty and mica and i bedecked in dazzles
and furriness and all the sound and color and
movement makes us feel like
we are in a music video
pedaling across the panorama
of corn stubble fields against
baby bright sky blue
with autumn leafed treelines
in the background


something about how we follow the curves
and rise and fall of the land and
take layers off under sun and
put layers on under cloud and
the way that such simple food
tastes like the best thing on the planet
as we sit there on the ground
eating our cheese pretzel pear/apple feast
after 20-some miles of pedaling


on our first pass across the fabius
we pull over and walk down to the banks
cynthia hands each of us
drawings of comets and
a pencil and we write
about the ephemeral now

on our second pass
mica pins the brave heart badge
to my sash
and talks about witnessing me
taking risks and watching me as
i puzzle and figure out
and she says how these waters
hold the heartbreak
the shine of trying
and we hug with jewels in our eyes and
when we bike away from our stopover
the cold of the wind on the
tears running over the rise of cheekbones
feels baptismal breaking me
into something new

the brick doorway
of what once was a building and is now nothing
in gorin i walk through saying
this is the doorway to 40

ty teaches us knockout
on the court and later
mica and trish and baigz and i
shuffle-race around the
ping pong table playing
around-the-world styles

a name for the full-body feeling
of arriving after 40 miles
of pedaling, every cell humming
a calm landing in my muscles,
skin, blood, bones
mica starfished on the grass
her bike splayed next to her

cyn on cello
trish as officiator
all the rest of fam/friends gathered
up on slater’s hill under
the great old oak
where we ritualize
the sacred union of mind body and spirit
where form the routine of ordinary life
the extraordinary is born

a grain of rice
falling out of my hair
hours after
the wedding wherein i
married the universe and
committed to ferocious self-love

at dinner circle
(over bean burgers and freedom fries and
kale and peanut butter chocolate milkshakes)
i thank everyone for letting the birthday extravaganza
commandeer our days
saying i feel full up and
how much i love to be adored on my birthday
and how much everyone took on the challenge
and brought it and now we can resume
with normal
but the epicness
does not end there because
i am presented with yet two more badges
(the loving-the-food-i-grow badge from mica
and the career badge from baigz)
and then the spanking-with-ping-pong-paddles
ritual ensues and
baigz and trish and em
play/sing a song (banjo, guitar, trombone)
they wrote for/about
me which includes a chorus of: type type type type type
(typewriter clack-a-lack)

and the line about transformation
lifted from the detail collector
and all the love is so palpable
i could swim through the sea of it
unable to ever make it through
the great expanse to
the other end

honna and i
bed-warming as i read
byrd baylor’s the table where rich people sit
and how grateful i am
for this warmth-sharing and this
older-than-10-years friendship
that began at a collective café
fondly nicknamed trainwreck


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