1975 by Patricia Wallace Jones

1975

There was no warning
that New Year’s Day
would change the world, steal tomorrow
and return it old, etched and gray
as February –
no warning in the afterglow
of champagne toasts and fancy clothes,
wishes strewn about the living room floor
that the flag was down,
corners folded to grace the mantle;
no warning that swallows
had built their home in the chimney flue,
that a stuffy nose and simple cough
would come to mean
I’d never wear the red dress again,
dance or dream for years to come.

by Patricia Wallace Jones

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Editor’s Note: This poem’s difficult emotional punch builds slowly, using metaphor and imagery to illustrate the speaker’s experience, until the last few lines reveal a narrative of years of difficulty rather than just a single moment.