Last Night of the Year, 955 Years After Mei Yao-ch’en’s Death
I tie my hiking boots tight before I step outside to watch the year fall.
I am not afraid I will float away on Star River; my heart is 400 miles
upstream already. My family scattered. Just the cats and dogs here
to nibble water crackers with. Any year’s last hours are crumbs on a plate,
forgotten on the kitchen counter. For once I wish to be in a crowd
in a loud living room, my heartbeat adding to the temporary chatter.
Walk out with me, old friend. There will be snow in the year’s first hour
at the head of the trail, and I cannot finish this wine alone.