Poem : New Years Day, 2002 / by Heather Taylor

The day I arrive, my shoulders ache,
pull my fear into forgotten places
as I long for my new resting place:
a flat on a canal in the heart of Camden.

The blue line heads into the knot of metropolis
so I board a carriage of holiday makers
and bored Londoners home from vacations.
No one looks to my pale face or bandana-ed head

Or stares at the foreigner with a maple leaf
stitched prominently onto her bag, the flag
I wish I forgot at home, that there was no time for stitching
during my weeks of good-bye coffees & drinks.

But here, I follow blue line to black, all my possessions
lumped on my back. The Junk Lady from Labyrinth
with a lightened load, all my belongings flung to family
& friends who longed for glass balls, wind chimes & Harry Potter.

Camden Station. The tube ride seems as short
as the days at home before my New Years Eve
plane ride launched me into a new life of new words,
long distance phone calls & home office paperwork.

At street level, I feel like drowning, the crowd all
spring salmon pushing upstream, an undiscovered purpose
catapulting them through the years & past me until
I tighten my straps & take that first step in.