For Willem, on his 13th Birthday

From the moment

you burst into the world

at a high rate of speed

one sunny May day

thirteen years ago

(you’ve heard the story

about how Dad and I barely

made it to the hospital

to have you properly delivered)

you've been my quicksilver baby,

my towhead in constant motion--

here one minute, then gone

and back again, with an imp’s grin.

Equal parts smart


and sweet

you could charm a snake

or a vice principal.

Whether holding a slingshot

or a bottle rocket

or a bass guitar

you are my mischief and music,

my reminder that

life is a gift

and can be