Dec. 31, 2008
I am doing laps at night, alone
In the indoor pool. Outside
It is snowing, but I am warm
And weightless, suspended and out
Of time like a fly in amber.
She is thousands of miles
From here, and miles above me,
Ghosting the stratosphere,
Heading from New York to London.
Though it is late, even
At that height, I know her light
Is on, her window a square
Of gold as she reads mysteries
Above the Atlantic. I watch
The line of black tile on the pool's
Floor, leading me down the lane.
If she looks down by moonlight,
Under a clear sky, she will see
Black water. She will see me
Swimming distantly, moving far
From shore, suspended with her
In flight through the wide gulf
As we swim toward land together.
Lying here quietly beside you,
My cheek against your firm, quiet thighs,
The calm music of Boccherini
Washing over us in the quiet,
As the sun leaves the housetops and goes
Out over the Pacific, quiet
So quiet the sun moves beyond us,
So quiet as the sun always goes,
So quiet, our bodies, worn with the
Times and penances of love, our
Brains curled, quiet in their shells, dormant,
Our hearts slow, quiet, reliable
In their interlocked rhythms, the pulse
In your thigh caressing my cheek. Quiet.
Today is New Year's Eve, the last day of the year.
In Mexico, people eat one grape with each of the 12 clock chimes at midnight, and make a wish for the coming year. In Venezuela, they wear yellow underwear for a year of good luck. In Japan, people eat soba because long thin noodles symbolize longevity, and at midnight, temple bells ring 108 times, matching the 108 attachments in the mind that need to be purified before the New Year.
At midnight in Greece, families cut a cake called a vasilopita, which has a coin baked inside; whoever gets the coin will have a lucky year.
In this country, the most famous celebration is in New York City's Times Square, where up to one million people gather each New Year's Eve to watch a ball drop.
It's the birthday of Junot Díaz, (books by this author) born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in 1968. He grew up in New Jersey. And he wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007), the story of a Dominican misfit, a kindhearted science fiction "ghettonerd" who would do anything for love.
Junot Díaz said about writers: "What we do might be done in solitude and with great desperation, but it tends to produce exactly the opposite. It tends to produce community and in many people hope and joy."
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®