New Year’s Eve by Ellaraine Lockie

The year is all packed
Refusing to be left behind
A black baggage of grief
burned by betrayal in love’s incinerator
And by beloved bodies dehydrated
as they processed to fine particles

My inability to focus
scatters like ashes over stacks
of partially-sorted photographs
Piles of unfinished poems
maneuvering their midlife crises
And multiple party invitations
Each promising to
bring in the best new year

Confetti falls from one
like gaiety imposed by a pushy hostess
Another drones Auld Lang Syne
in digital incessance as I open the invite
Bottles of booze litter the last two
Conjuring loss of inhibition
and sloppy kisses from strangers

Picking the best of the bad
proves to be as challenging
as choosing proper party apparel
And my fifth and final change
forces me in front of Times Square
Countdown clarity as plain
as the pajamas I wear

that when the year clocks into next
I’ll unpack the bereavement baggage
Accept sorrow’s timetable
And snack on some more popcorn
or pretzels or peanuts
Or maybe nachos or Cheetos
or chocolate covered mints



Ellaraine Lockie is widely published and awarded as a poet, nonfiction book author and essayist. Tripping with the Top Down is her thirteenth chapbook. Earlier collections have won Poetry Forum’s Chapbook Contest Prize, San Gabriel Valley Poetry Festival Chapbook Competition, Encircle Publications Chapbook Contest, Best Individual Poetry Collection Award from Purple Patch magazine in England Competition, and the Aurorean’s Chapbook Choice Award. Ellaraine teaches writing workshops and serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine, Lilipoh.


Detail of photograph by Frances Benjamin Johnston, Self Portrait as “New Woman,” 1896.

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