For Gail on Her Birthday
by Charles Entrekin

We were still in our first days together,
when a wild poet named David Fisher,
as if sharing a secret,
fixed me with an intent look of madness,
and whispered, "I saw her first.
She was out there in the world
all by herself, Ms. Gail Rudd.
But she didn't want me.
So now I see who it will be:
you will be the one.

And I am the one.
I am the one who loves this woman
this multi-tasker, master planner,
this beautiful poet
striving for clarity, this woman who
alphabetizes all our books
by subject and author,
who always keeps our canned goods
facing front.

I'm the one who loves her
as she turns on the stove and walks away,
leaving the pan unattended,
tomato soup boiling over,
while she answers an e-mail
or reads a new poem,
or designs her latest Kandinsky quilt.

She loves her lacy black underwear,
and, yes, I love her for that,
and, yes, she takes risks:
she always believes she can make it
and occasionally runs red lights.
I love her because
she has a generous, plum-like soul.
She loves to figure out
the etymology of words,
because she loves children, animals, and birds,
and because I was the one.


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