The Gift of the Second Year

Cotton sheets hanging on a clothesline.

We unfolded the 20-year old sheet from our bag

It smelled vaguely of Downy

But mostly of


On each corner we placed a shoe

We took off our shirts to feel the first bits of summer sun


In 10 minutes, the droplets of salty sweat formed on our upper lips

And our arms were slippery

And we closed our eyes from the brightness

And we may have both fallen asleep


And then we were awake


And then the faded and worn blue of your denim

And then blinding white

And then



Brain spinning like a jenny



The gift of the second year

Is cotton


Not because of the life threads we have just started to weave

Not because we are young and poor and can’t afford something else

Not because of anything

Except to remind us

That as the tedium

The complacency

The peacefulness

Of our lives together sets in

That it was not that long ago

That we were fumbling toward ecstasy


On a rumpled and damp cotton sheet


And that we found your left shoe about 10 feet away



Each year I write a poem to commemorate our wedding anniversary using the traditional anniversary gift as the inspiration. Click the links below to read the series so far.

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6