New Year Sestina

by Maggie Smith

Maggie Smith

The new year doesn’t feel new
at all, says my oldest child,
the one who sees
everything slant. So what
if the world’s a year older?
It’s like when you turn

seven but still feel six. Turning
one page doesn’t make a book new.
Like that. I mean the old
year’s still around, ghostchild
yanking at my sleeve. But what
does it want? To be seen,

to levitate our chairs? Now, see,
it’s fucking with me. It turned
and I waited to feel—what?
Changed? Somehow new
myself? Even my child,
seven years old,

wonders when the old
year will tire of us and see
itself out. This ghostchild
is an amateur haunt, turning
all the lights on. The news
sifts down, confetti. What

scheduled glitter, what
scheduled joy. My oldest
was right: the year’s not new
enough. And not alone. See,
last year returns
as shadow: shadowchild,

shadowyear, yearchild.
It walks our halls for what?
Last year had its turn
but wants another—that old
story. It wants us to see
what we’re missing. What’s new?

But I’ve turned ghost enough, old
enough. Even my child sees
years for what they aren’t: new.

Last updated October 30, 2022