New Year’s Day Miscalculation – Lynn Houston

For D. Rothermel 

The year’s first sun begins to burn away the fog
that settled overnight in the valley. Along the highway

I take to the airport, flavored by the sour scent of dung,
farmhouses lunge out of the white mist, indistinct

black husks—then as I pass them, dead noise against my window.
Their vacant sound reminds me of the voice of an old friend

who betrayed me, who lives in one of the houses nearby.
On this day of new beginnings, I wonder if I was wrong

to blame her when I always ask too much. In my hangover haze,
her face comes to me among the broken, weathered porches,

the rusted tractors with claws for land turned upwards
against the sky. I turn off onto what I remember is her road

and park in the driveway, but my friend no longer lives there,
and the new occupant owns the house and a very large dog,

its teeth snapping at me through the mist like memory does
if you forget to feed it, digging for something better left buried.

Lynn Houston

Lynn Marie Houston has published poetry in over thirty literary journals, such as the Ocean State Review, Broad River Review, Heavy Feather Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, and in her book-length collections: The Clever Dream of Man (Aldrich Press), The Mauled Keeper (Main Street Rag, forthcoming), and Chatterbox (Word Poetry Books, forthcoming). Her writing has garnered prizes in competitions sponsored by the Connecticut Press Club, The National Federation of Press Women, The Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Contest, Cultural Weekly, The Rash Poetry Awards, Brain Mill Press, the Indie Excellence Awards, Prime Number Magazine, and Press 53. The Editor-in-Chief of Five Oaks Press, as well as poetry editor for the Noctua Review, she holds a Ph.D. from Arizona State University and will soon finish her MFA at Southern Connecticut State University.