1975 by Patricia Wallace Jones


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

Patricia on Facebook

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.

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