New Year

January 4, 2008
By Dylan Garity, Corvallis, OR

The streets criss-cross
Like interwoven intravenous tubes, drawn tight
To the breaking point, gridded out,
A rain-darkened fishing net of undisturbed silence.
You are pounding with your little fist at the stiff mesh
and with each punch it bends a little more.
You will continue the motion:
Back, lift, fold in the fingers, release
And it will ripple, the vibrato whine of an electric guitar
Stretched to ever-increasing heights.

It will never break.

Close your eyes, open them, repeat.
There are still three lights between the trees
The horizon is still on fire.
You look at the clock
Off nine minutes, fast or slow,
And realize that you may never again drink milk
with an expiration date in 2007.
Voices outside, knocks at the door
The gates are breached without your help.
You’re old enough, you can walk just fine on your own
But a familiar arm in a violet sweatshirt reaches through
Amidst fragments of apologies and promises
Lifts you like a child and cradles you,
Carries you up the hill, content.

The cars have folded in on themselves.
In the empty spaces left behind,
Rows of hedges grow from pavement
Leaves shadowed black against the moonlight.
You think they are forming a maze,
That soon you will be trapped beneath it’s bowing roof,
Stumbling blind in the gardens forever.
Instead you find that all the hedges are pointing forward,
Funneling like fleece through a spinning-wheel, twisting tight.
You lay out straight and let them guide you home.

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