I am related to the crescent moon;
Scimitar like we both end ourselves in a sharp point,
Death in my case but for the clever moon metamorphosis.
Similarly the round, bulbous moon is my second cousin,
Not that she is aware of this lumbering her enormous white belly across the sky;
More relatives I am thinking;
Soon it will be the whole human race.
Certain men in coastal China look just like me;
Missionaries maybe or traders or even a Jesuit;
If we met we would throw arms around one another
And hug like lost brothers;
But this is unlikely as we lack bus fare to the next village.
My mother claims the old Highland Scots treacherous,
Alternately indolent and violent,
Fighters, crazy, lovers of death, planters of oats and semen;
Raiders, builders of stone huts,
Women with shoulders that shine in the dark, tiger eyes.
Some of me belongs to them although I don’t know which;
Punking off the nobs, coveting my neighbour’s wife maybe.
In Malaysia there is a man and his daughter
Who share a sense of humor;
Cracking jokes together, rising in a great crescendo of snorts and guffaws
And belly bendings. They are my first and second cousin as are the coyotes
Who sing badly arranged songs when I’m trying to sleep.
They are my relatives too.
There are farmers in Chile who bend their elbows
Just like I do;
Shopkeepers in Cairo who share the line of my eyebrows exactly;
Miners in the Urals sniffing tea the way I sniff tea;
Carpenters in Poland who stretch upon getting out of bed the way I stretch;
An Isreali wine merchant scratching his lower belly in exactly the place I scratch;
And so on.
Five billion human beings; All relatives for goodness sakes; It’s ridiculous.
And then there are the animals and rocks and the vegetable world
And the great astronomical world of nuclear explosions and spun out galaxies,
The Great Immensity and somehow I am related to all that too.
I can’t remember all the names;
I don’t have enough money to send everyone a birthday card.
So I decided to write this poem. Happy birthday.
Consider yourself kissed. Blow out the candles.