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December 31, 2018 Poetry

Happy New Year

Emily Alexander

Happy New Year photo

I don’t know what to say to J., so
            I just say, It’s a new year. Frost everywhere.

The branches go on holding
            the cold while I and everyone I know

blink into our hangovers. After the countdown
            we toasted without really saying

what to, but it felt true. Just lifting
           our glasses towards each other in the strewn

light, that clumsy ringing, or ringing
            in at least. Like that was all

it took, a slight clink into fullness.
            S. and I didn’t dance all night,

and I was glad. My dress too short anyway
            to raise my arms or shimmy much. Once

I drove through fields, and like always
            they widened in the wind broke into gold waves

or green. And I thought for sure any day now I’d happen
            upon my own new self somewhere

out there. Once after three beers I wasn’t afraid
            on an airplane. Once I said to an almost

love, You are my very best friend. Or
            I would have, or should. Sometimes it’s enough

to just stand near the dance floor and watch
            curls loosen. Other times I tried to look

like I was looking for someone above their pretty heads.
            Silly me, I keep thinking. R. held my wrist,

drunk and told me I looked beautiful
            I think I can’t quite remember. But B. and I

poured each other more
            champagne, and when I spilled all over

my hands, we just laughed like she knew me
            so well, and I thought it

again. It’s so cold today I can hear
            everything, and everything is being very quiet

now. My headache is worse than expected, but
            I always get carried away like this in crowds and new

clothes, and when someone I didn’t know offered
            me a smoke I took it because

outside was thin and still and slightly tinted orange
            by streetlight and fog. Silly me.

But it’s a new year now, and the sky is so clear
            it might really mean it this time. I mean

I know I said this before, but there is frost
            everywhere. I’ve never seen anything so careful.

 

 

image: Aaron Burch


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