‘Happy New Year’: a poem

You’ve passed years like this before, bad

birthdays, bad Christmases, resolutions

that ashed and fell between your fingers.

You took your seat, reluctant-ceremonial,

Then hurried cards from the mantlepiece,

sentiment snapped shut and trashed.

 

You birthed truths all through spring,

drew them out, dredged them,

some wet, some still, some shivering.

Now, mothering, you sit with them.

 

You’re eyeing your watch past midnight

and you feel that this year, it’s slipping.

The minutes have died in the long

drip of your breakfast-honey

 

Do you feel anything? Can you crush your grief

to fill an eggshell, an oyster? Can you keep it

clean as we jump the rupture?

 

The minutes die like river-creatures in the silt

of your coffee cup. A paper-light shell

wriggled out of, shed and left.

 

You blow your blue smoke and reconcile

to thinking – this will be the worst. Every year

you’ll be wrong. Bury your watch

 

in the garden this morning. Let it slip

from your wrist, stamp flat the sillion.

Do you feel the earth beating?

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