The New Year

And I didn’t know how
it was supposed to sound
until I heard it: a muffled bang,
the sound of a firework’s explosion,
softened as it passed through
the glass of our hotel window.

I remember the sharpness of it, as stark
as the sound of a needle shimmying
into the groove of a spinning record,
making tiny bumps against the vinyl walls,
delicately settled by a hand unknowable,
or at least, unknowable to the machine,
the whole player merely a vessel of sound.

And every January 1st, without fail,
a light drizzle visits whatever city we’re in
to wash away the smoke, the ashes,
put out stubborn fires. And I’m sure
the beginning of the rain’s arrival
was supposed to sound like a slow build-up,
a small wave of white noise
surging towards clarity.
But I slept through it.