a year, in stars

Nebula

We gathered all the days of our year in a basket meant to hold bread at the dinner table, tossed them in and shuffled them together before throwing them up into the air, a confetti of our collective annual memory. They hung over our heads, glittering like dust held captive in the amber window light of a winter’s late-afternoon, and all the gears in all the clocks drew down from a mumbled chatter-grind to a lock-toothed hush, and time and the house stood still while we sat with our heads atilt and our mouths agape and our eyes aglow. A universe of the year past spread out above us in memories like a room filled with stars, some enormous and insignificant, so futilely colossal they brutishly crowded out the others, some minute and spectacular, so humbly brilliant they could only be gazed at sidelong if we the watchers hoped not to be blinded by them. They drifted among themselves, congregating in unintended clusters, never to disentangle. And why would we want them to? This was how they were meant to be: the moments of our year, in constellation. We reached tentative fingers to spin them on their axes, relived their warmth or their chill, laughed at the folly of dramas that seemed so dire as we first whirred past them but had diminished with distance, even as they laughed to us with strange good humor, “This, you will not likely remember for long, but oh—wasn’t it grand while it happened?” We sighed wistfully at the breath-takers and the tear-bringers that snuck up from behind and whispered into our ears, “This, you will not likely forget no matter how far from it you travel—and isn’t that a wonderful thing to know?” We bemoaned the clingers and hangers-on, the stars with too many points that would stick in our skin and catch in our clothes and gather in our eyes, the ones that would carry onward with us, though they told us in their most rational voices, “This, you have no choice but to bring with you, but fear not—it will all be okay in the end.” Then the clocks caught up with themselves and clicked forward again as the diamond-dust of our year fell all around us, dropped onto the kitchen table in a golden haze, clattered and skittered like stones and pushed out the edge of our universe ever so slightly further, dragging us laughing and crying and gasping and sighing from This Year into The Next.

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