Closing the Loop on the Year

Here’s a poem for the waning days of 2017. “Closing the Loop on the Year” first appeared in The Hudson Review. At this time of year, I buy a new desk calendar, even though I now keep a digital calendar as well, and I transfer with colored markers all the birthdays of family members and friends from last year’s calendar to the new one, adding notes for concerts, doctor’s appointments, poetry readings, the dates taxes are due.


Snow clings to shingles. I riffle December
pages of my calendar—coffee-stained days,
bills paid, to-dos and past dues,
the late tracery of time spent, nearly
forgotten. I peel
the cellophane from the new calendar, turn
the blank pages. I want another year, oh yes.
And another after that. I want
tenacity like the dogwood outside my window,
preparing to stay, bare branches huddled hard
against the side of the house—
the one shoot that races straight up
from the middle of the crown—
brown umbel with its parasol of stalks,
each stalk capped with a pink bud
ready to be struck into white stars,
on whose account, by May,
the whole branch will tremble.