the twenty-fifth

Geometry of Birthdays

           --For Gabriel 

You are sitting in the middle of the rug 

fitting geometric figures over poles, the holes  


impossibly small, and yet, you stack them  

to the top with steady hands, oblivious  


to the exhilaration in my muscles, my bones,  

in the still between each breath, unaware of  


the flare of my heart as I rush past like a tempest  

carrying balloons and streamers, the letters 


that will spell out our wish for you in multicolor. 

Deaf to the tune on my tongue, your name 


gliding in a crescendo around the room. 

Circles clack against squares. Your giggle comes  


to me as air, as water, as earth, your delight 

my lifeblood. Soon, the house will abound   


with people, you will burrow in presents,  

and amid the pandemonium, you will be passed  


from arm to arm, lips pressed perpetually to your  

cheeks, paper crown balanced atop your head, 


king for a day, number one glittering like   

a chest full of spent days just out of reach.  


We will sing and eat and commiserate  

the passage of time, and as you totter  


around the room I will fit memories over 

the pole of my mind, striving to pinpoint 


the exact moment you learned how  

to manipulate shapes with such precision.  


Julie Weiss´s (she/her) debut chapbook, The Places We Empty, will be published by Kelsay Books in July 2021. In 2020, she was a finalist in Alexandria Quarterly´s first line poetry contest series and a finalist for The Magnolia Review´s Ink Award. In 2019 she was a Best of the Net Nominee. Her recent work appears in Montana Mouthful, Mothers Always Write, and Sheila-Na-Gig, among others, and she has poems in many anthologies, as well. Originally from California, she lives in Spain with her wife and two young children. You can find her on Twitter @colourofpoetry or on her website at

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