The first thing you do

on the first of January
is the kind of thing 

you'll do all year. 
Don't weep, said my father. 
Don't let the chopping board

or broom be the first things 
you turn to, said my mother.
And you shouldn't write

again of rain, unless 
it washes your face clean 
of those tears your father 

was talking about. Don't rub 
the same damp sticks together 
hoping to make a fire. Think of

all that could make 
a beautiful blaze without 
destroying its messengers— 

a flock of lanterns drifting 
into the night sky: some bearing 
a prayer, the rest just floating free.

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