Friday, September 23, 2005

"The Perfect Day," by Cheryl B. Klein

(with apologies to Alice B. Parsons)

You wake to the soft murmur of NPR
announcing a Bootsy Collins interview
on the legend of the funk
Your best friend calls to say happy birthday
and you chat for fifteen minutes
You get out of bed
put on your running clothes
slip two dollars in your pocket
and lope on a golden bright morning
to Grand Army Plaza and home again
stopping only for a
Krispy Kreme

You sing Marilyn Monroe songs in the shower
and wear your Thomas Pink shirt and blue-glitter shoes
(which hereafter shall be known as
"the magic shirt" and "magic shoes")
for the first time ever
Cream roses glow on your desk
and a fat little Maneki Neko
raises a cheery paw
E-mails and voice mails and text messages
wish you the happiest of days
You edit good books well
take Scrabble turns between manuscripts
and nobody stalks you with deadlines or guilt
Lunch is curry in the sun with a friend
and it warms you inside and out

At Times Square with Agent R
you sip something swanky and sweet
and when a Canadian offers you a drink
from across the room
you appreciate the compliment
(the magic shirt does its work)
In "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"
you are selected for your Broadway debut
and sit onstage with the actors
to spell "indigent" and "palaetra"
Though "vigintillion" is your downfall
the announcer likes your shoes
and everyone applauds as you go back to your seat
The musical is wonderful and true
and your mother is so proud!
Afterward, french fries, Riesling
and gossip gossip gossip
in the taxi home
you lean back
a grown-up
twenty-seven years, one day,
and happy.


  1. Ohmygod! Did you get selected, too? Wasn't it just soooo thrilling? Best seats in the house, up there on stage.

    Congrats and happy to hear your birthday was a smash (Broadway) hit!!!

    Your fellow "best actress in a musical,"

  2. Yes! I'll bet we're the only author/editor combination in children's books to appear on the Broadway stage.

    They say funny things about the participants as they walk to the microphone, and about me they said (entirely improvised), "Miss Klein won her school's Joni Mitchell-Sissy Spacek-and-Gwyneth Paltrow lookalike contest," and then, "Miss Klein bought her shoes [blue-glitter-covered ballet flats] at the gift shop next door to WICKED." ;-)

  3. They said about me, "Lisa is a child prodigy and is currently writing an opera in braille."

    Hey, do you think we can get Arthur and his magic foot up there so we can form a triptych?


  4. Oh, happy birthday! It sounds like you had a wonderful day. I love hearing about all your adventures in New York -- brings back happy memories of visiting the MOMA (Lichtenstein!) and eating hot fresh bagels at the edge of Central Park in November, something I shall probably never do again but am glad I had the chance to do once. :)