For every birth, there is a death: its own.
Jeremy, dating Joanna, disregards this truth
And Joanna does the same with Jeremy.
If they did not, they might never
Dance cheek-to-cheek or its equivalent.
They are going to marry because they wish to be parents
And feel they will mostly enjoy being together
For the rest of their lives. They do not consider the truth
That for every birth there is a death: its own.
A sufficiently detached observer might tell them
How the kids – and Joanna and Jeremy too –
Will at every moment be subject to the inescapable,
And that when Change comes, it is unlikely to arrive
When or how they or anyone they know may assume it will.
But realizing that we simply do not know
The observer might refrain from doing so.
Best wishes to the parents, good fortune
To the children, good luck to the family and to
Whatever pets they acquire as all of them age.
Poems by Jonathan Bracker have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry Northwest and other periodicals, and in eight collections, the latest of which, from Seven Kitchens Press, is Attending Junior High.