In the Park

Along the snowy patches of field,

Almost blue in their cold whiteness,

I find a wooden bench and sit

To retie my weary shoelaces.

 

As the chilled wind tightens around my ears,

Lifting lightly at strands of my hair,

I notice a single cardinal, warbling and

Shuffling through the twigs and crystal ground.

 

I decide to draw a pen from my coat pocket

And a rolled cylinder of pages

To write of his ragged beauty, the deep red

Of his feathers, the drop of ink around his beak.

 

We keep company between us for a while,

He beneath the veil of a cherry blossom,

I on my wooden bench,

Sharing this large plot of blanketed earth as I

 

Jot down the detail of his eyes,

Aimed steadily toward the thaw of spring

When the warm winds will cry out from hibernation

And awaken us both from sleep.

 

I look up from my paper and nod as

The cardinal turns the corner of our little spot in the park,

Raises his patient eyes into the grey air,

And leaps into the frost, soaring into the future

Of years and years of sunlight

As I stand to walk some more.

New Year’s Eve

A city of shivering knees, stars leaning over towers.

The people crowd along the sidewalk, stacking walls out of late hours

To keep the last year out for good.

 

They’re all on camera, teeth chattering,

Huddled behind each other’s shoulders,

Looking up to an apple suspended by cables,

A moon in a lighthouse, a broken compass,

Needles shining in every direction at once.

 

From up there, they are merely heads,

Shuffling from side to side to shake off the cold,

Thousands counting under their breath,

Holding coffee, posters, hands,

 

This evening they rode trains, drove cars,

Gathered change for the wishes they’d toss down the well

At twelve.

 

But in the final moments, they bundle together in the gridlock,

Quiet, waiting,

Winding another layer of tape around their hearts

And lifting prayers into the night sky that this next one may finally

Save them.

 

And at midnight

They all dip like princesses to kiss for auld lang syne,

Singing and cheering the birth of a new year,

Horns wailing from loudspeakers, eyelashes glowing.

 

But when the last streamers fall to the ground,

Trash cans overflowing, confetti swept in bags,

The snowflakes become water,

And a dingy glass slipper lay propped against

An old pumpkin on the corner,

Clock hands turning in the morning light.