(First published in The Country and Abroad in 2004)
New Year’s Eve
At midnight the party tromps onto the porch,
scrunching salt and ice. It’s bitter cold.
Children tug to go inside. Parents clap their gloves.
But the host shakes a champagne bottle so vigorously
the cork pop spreads a six-foot frothy wing.
Then he produces something strange: flares on chains.
The fuse lit, he swings one like a sizzling hoop,
throws it at the towering trees. Crazy?
Trying to start a forest fire New Year’s Eve?
No, the chain wraps around a branch,
hangs a sparkling chandelier.
He throws a second, a third, hands out a dozen
to everyone learning this new tradition.
Flares soon crown the trees,
shedding sparks that roll along branches
& tumble down trunks:
all the way into the snow.