Nancy: Children play at this, letting their twigs race downstream. Even as I dropped my broken bits into the currents and eddies, I was aware of racing to a new place, a new potential.
I broke a stick into small pieces,
one for each year,
and dropped them into the stream.
They caught in an eddy and turned,
foam caught at them, the bark, the broken edges,
and then in a quick slide they went under the bridge.
What did I expect? That they might knit
miraculously? That I might go home laughing?
When I turned they were slipping downstream
pulled apart, jumbled, the way the years go,
here and there one catching the light.
Before I left, I drank, the water still tasting of ice
and now of the thrusting green shoots upstream,
and then I turned for the house.
A roof there, four walls.
My legs were tired and I had a long way to go.
Alan: While revelers sleep it off, I’d rather start the new year at daybreak.
New Year’s Dawn
at the northeast corner of the country
at the east edge of the time zone
the light comes early, leaves early.
Half-past five. Already
the air brightens to the southeast,
sculpting that long line of mountains
that grows each night from the sea
and dissolves again each day.
There, beyond the fields and scraggy woods,
beyond the barely perceptible, gentle
there they are once more
heavy and distant
and the arms of the sun behind them
reaching up to embrace
the cold, recumbent sky,
the still sleeping year.