For Gloria on her 60th Birthday, or Looking for Love in Merriam Webster

“Beautiful, splendid, magnificent,
delightful, charming, appealing,”
says the dictionary.
And that’s how I start… But I hear her say,
“Make it less glorious and more Gloria.”

Imperious, composed, skeptical, serene,
lustrous, irreverent,
she’s marked by glory, she attracts glory
“Glory,” I say, “Glory, Glory.”

“Is there a hallelujah in there?”
she asks, when I read her lines one and two.
“Not yet,” I say, looking up from my books.
She protests, “Writing a poem isn’t the same

“As really attending to me.” “But it’s for
your birthday,” I say. Pouting,
playfully cross, “That’s the price you pay
when your love’s a poet.”

She has chestnut-colored hair,
old fashioned Clara Bow lips,
moist brown eyes…
arms outstretched, head thrown back
she glides toward me and into her seventh decade.

Her name means “to adore,”
“to rejoice, to be jubilant,
to magnify and honor as in worship, to give or ascribe glory–”
my love, O Gloria, I do, I do.

– from Four Incarnations