Poet’s Corner: Lessons for the New Year

I wanted to write a poem
for the new year inspired
by the blank, daily squares
of January in my new calendar,
and my love of fresh starts.

Live like your baggage was lost
at the airport, I wrote, and you’ve
arrived at a new place without
anything but yourself. Wear
comfortable shoes. Except that

my terrible cold was still terrible,
and the plumbing went wonky
again, never right since we put
in the hall bathroom. Running
up and down the basement

stairs, brandishing a plunger,
my husband’s face did not wear
the peaceful countenance of one
unencumbered, and I kept
sneezing. And while I still

advocate for always wearing
comfortable shoes, I was wrong
to think our baggage doesn’t trot
behind us like dutiful dogs, or
to imagine a new year means our

lives start with a clean slate. It’s
the blank squares of the calendar
blessing us with more days, time
to live the beautiful mess of our
lives, starlight and sniffles, poetry

and plumbing, and the hope that
all of us receive the gift of twelve
more months to see it through.