Because I was 43 a day or two before she was born

I turned 61 the day 

She finished school and had a manicure for graduation.

Driving her home once more, just like that first time,

I was the first to see how blue her nails were,

And hear her dismay that they were not purple,

Instead of whatever we call the color of nails when we are born.

Which I tried to take in stride, as if it were the most natural thing

To alter the beautiful body her mother had delivered her in.

And of course wanting not to spoil her day, I asked

Instead about how they apply the colored paint

Only to have her explain that it isn't paint on her nails

It's not even her own nails, it's some fiddly bit of plastic

Glued on the end of her fingers, as if they were lacking in grace.

"What do I know?" I asked, rhetorically

And she instantly proved her education with the witty reply

That she would be more than a bit worried if I did know

Much about epoxied nails and multi-colour splash.

Which I caught waving to me as she blew a kiss across the field, 

Just before she tossed her cap 

With all the other newly minted adults 

Who graduated full of promise and wonderful dreams,

Without a care in the world, or even noting that

Some of us had aged another year.

 © Philip Knight 2018