Troy Shizuo Yamaguchi, Islanders

We always gambled the quality of New Year’s Eve; it was

Agony or victory, no exceptions;

Except I was too loaded to care that year: fat, sated, fulfilled —

A fool dropping filter after filter on the carpet;

The cadence increasing as the ball drops in New York… Chicago… Los Angeles;

And as we ascend towards God’s greater grace;

Our once crystalline minds now a daub-a-Daisy-dollop of lustrous chemicals. 

At 10:45 it’s about that time. Before we pursue destiny we must

Prevail over what’s left of our shoelaces. Okay. No.

That’s the heel of the thing; you’ve got it on backwards. 

We venture: clear air; the late-night totem store fifteen minutes away; but that 

One mile of wasteland, God’s great design, stretches out, and expands.

It’s enormous and lightless and empty. And we

Stumbled in place. And we scanned the sloping horizon for our future. And it 

Was so difficult to stand 

When the night stayed dark.

It’s same pre-recorded ceremony in the store.

It’s the same behest tugging at the poor counter boy;

It’s the same end-of-the-line on the way back but we


Our voices echoing from one side of this plundered rock to the other.

Then — ten seconds — scratching furiously for 

The chance to kill something that was once alive; to thrive is

Timing your final hit to the last rasp of the year; it’s

Trying to hold your breath and scream simultaneously; it’s

A feeling like agony, or anxiety, or the revelation that dear God your

$4000 has just become $1400; and okay — 

That’s not so bad. It’s a death left to the dregs of the old year. 



Troy is a writer of short fiction and poetry living in Dallas. He has never before been published.