we fail to kiss


Another new year blooms, as bloody faced
as a cheap poinsettia, liberated
from Lidl’s middle aisle. We pay tribute
to the plastic sculptor’s art, the scentless
foliage that fails to fade in winter’s
weakened light, dull as the tarnished golden
gleam of toffee wrappers left to languish
in the Quality Street tin. One last cup
of cold mulled wine, one last scrape of jellied
cranberry from the bottom of the jar,
one last curled slice of turkey… The old year
is a stripped carcass, not fit to be boiled
for broth; a remnant of mistletoe, shorn
of berries, we decline to kiss beneath.


© Mandrake 2023
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