American Life in Poetry: New Year's Eve

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Ted Kooser. Photo credit: UNL Publications and Photography.

We three at American Life in Poetry, Ted, Pat and Cameron, wish you a happy and wholesome 2020, and here’s a poem to celebrate our friendship with you and our 15th year of weekly poems.

Warren Woessner is a poet and a patent attorney who lives in Minneapolis. If you’ve invented a new kind of poem and want to get it patented, well, he’s pretty busy and probably can’t help you with that.

His newest book is “Exit – Sky” from Holy Cow! Press.

New Year's Eve

5 p.m., corner booth,
Oak Bar, Plaza Hotel,
New York City, Center
of the World of all
that matters.

Where a Belvedere martini,
up with a twist, contemplates you
like a languid gold fish
in a clear garden pool,
or a suspended tear

that you can take back inside,
like that first full breath,
in case you need it,
as the world gets ready
to start all over again again.


American Life in Poetry does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. It is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2019 by Warren Woessner, "New Year’s Eve," from Exit – Sky, (Holy Cow! Press, 2019). Poem reprinted by permission of Warren Woessner and the publisher. Introduction copyright @2020 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.