On the Eve of Your 39th Birthday

By Penny Perry

for Jonathan

MoonSmileAfter you’ve put your sons to bed, turned on their moon night light you walk the dog. Out in the cold your breath shoots wisps of air ahead of you. Bailey, the terrier, strains against her harness, snarls at every big dog on the block.

You like these winter nights, warm jacket, an old song in your headphones.

Venus and Jupiter look like two eyes above the frown of a crescent moon.

This thirty-eighth year just ending has been a tug on an old leash back to the past. So much you wish you could remember:

The name of the girl with blue eyes in 7th grade, the color of the front door of the house on Walnut.

Time is speeding up like those cars with wings in your sons’ cartoons.

Fog washes over the face in the sky. In Asia, today’s paper says, the moon was a smile.

You turn the corner to home. Mist shines on the new blue paint of your almost classic car.


About Penny Perry

A three time Pushcart nominee, twice for poetry and once for fiction, my stories and poems have been widely published in literary magazines. Fiction Daily tagged my short story “Haunting the Alley,” published online in Literary Mama in August 2011.

My first collection of poetry, Santa Monica Disposal & Salvage, was published in 2012 by Garden Oak Press. The collection earned praise from Marge Piercy, Steve Kowit, Diane Wakoski, and Maria Gillan.

I was the fiction editor for Knot Literary Magazine, a Middle Eastern literary journal. I was a screenwriting fellow at the American Film Institute, and my movie A Berkeley Christmas aired on PBS. And, I’ve just completed a novel about a school shooting.

I write under two names, Penny Perry and Kate Harding.

Photo credit: Deb Stgo via a Creative Commons license.