sky
New Year’s Night, 2010
by Elizabeth Alford

It is silence which cups us in its palm as we
intertwine our fingers and click the door closed
behind us to greet the new-fallen snow

with quiet joy. The air is brisk like wind
without the harshness of storm, and the solemn
trees are unmoving: sleeping, heavy with

ice, frozen in place; like this moment. We are barely
dressed for this venture—black snow boots,
gloves, matching hooded sweatshirts—

but we may yet make snowmen
tonight. The muffled shuffling of our boots leaves
sharp treads in the sparkling slush—

a gentle reminder to leave Nature as we find it.
Meanwhile our mother the Milky Way
overhead is a shimmering masterpiece—

dazzling, hypnotic; like sequins on a dancer’s sleeve.
And when you drop down on one injured knee,
snow soaking your jeans, to present your own

shining New Year’s gift to me, I learn that
there is no such thing as a cold star; and that
my real home is here—in the heaven of your arms.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I sat down at my beautiful new desk to write for the holiday theme, I had a lot of trouble trying to come up with something for Christmas. I spent literally the entire submission period thinking about it. But when I thought to myself, “Maybe I should be different and write about New Year’s,” the words came easily. It’s been almost six years since this night, and I love telling everyone the story. I’m glad I could share it with you.

Alford

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Elizabeth Alford has always had an on-again-off-again relationship with poetry; but in the wake of her graduation from CSU East Bay, she recently announced that they are now going steady (much to everyone’s relief). She lives in Hayward, California, with her loving fiancé, mother, and two adorable dogs. Her favorite things include sushi, loud music on long drives, staring at the stars, and of course, writing. Her work has recently appeared on Poetry Super Highway, Haikuniverse, Quatrain.fish, and in the Silver Birch Press My Sweet Word Series.

PHOTO: The poet at Christmas, circa 1992.