Skip to main content

After New Year’s Eve, a poem by Charlotte Melin

After New Year’s Eve

Already gone the luminaries

of New Year’s Eve that lighted

the curving paths in the park,

the forks to enter or exit.

A chill has settled in,

and silence. A neighbor

lifts the undecorated tree

into his truck, a few kids

straggle over the green.

Here and there a puff

of steam exhales from 

a heat vent. At one house

the smell of laundry drifts

over the sidewalk,

reaching out as if we were 

all tidying up together.

No one is welcoming

the months to come,

the inevitable discord.

Yet last night in the dark,

the luminaries were so

peaceful as they faintly

flickered promises.

Charlotte Melin grew up in Indiana and returns to visit. Retired from the University of Minnesota, she lives in Northfield and has published widely about German poetry, the environmental humanities, and teaching.