Audience of One

new year

So, it's almost time for another year
to strike. Not the one with the loud sounds
of plastic champagne corks popping and glass
breaking on the hearth and the merriment
of friends and strangers jostling, tipsily
pronouncing their felicitations, shaking
hands perfunctorily and kissing all around.

Wait for the sky to fall on our heads,
the ratchets and wheezes of cardboard
horns and tin toys and midnight to break
into a million little bits
of whirling paper and stray balloons.

Not a tyranny of the machine: jeweled
clockwork engines shrieking the hour,
a meat grinder that God winds. No,
it comes like the silent plaster
of sundials fixed to the ordinates of patios,
in shadow, in the slow gravitational swirl
of our little blue drop down through a void
around the galactic rim. Another spectacle.

No slap on the back, sputtering
and choking on cake, it bears us
away from the crowd, a hand
pressing on the neck, forward and down.

The ordinary presents are in the drawers,
the crumpled wrap and torn boxes hauled off;
the future, in the twine and sackcloth
of time, unabatedly binds up more.
There are no increments that mayflies
and bristlecones measure by. The cat
just stretches in the window and sleeps
all curled up in the heat of the sun.

Kevin Cornwall © All rights reserved.

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