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Senior Countdown
Gail Fishman Gerwin


They enter the catering hall somewhere on Main Street in a
small New Jersey town where movie theatres once gave out

Ivory Flakes with every double-feature ticket. They recall
this, laugh at their youthful antics, their safety, Schwinns

left outside on the sidewalk, then picked up as the afternoon
waned, the sun a rare reach in the dead of December. Once

inside the hall, they find Table Ten, assigned when they’d
bought tickets months before, eager for the chicken dinner

and a splash of pink champagne to mark the cusp of the old
year, to welcome the new year with hope. They join other

merry-makers, noisemakers at the ready, balloons as centerpiece
markers. The emcee tells old jokes, the deejay plays songs from

their glory days. They lindy, twist and shout, sciatica be damned,
return to their places, ready for the twelve o’clock countdown.

There! It begins: Ten, Nine, Eight Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three,
Two, One, HAPPY NEW YEAR! Toots on the horns, confetti

all around, kisses to welcome another year, inner thanks to
a Being somewhere in the periphery. Dessert comes, then

a drive home. No fear of dark highways, lunacy on wheels
that makes statistics, after all it’s still light out, this celebration

ended at noon.

This poem first appeared in Edison Literary Review.
Used here with permission.


Gail Fishman Gerwin (1939 - 2016), a “Jersey girl” from birth who claims to have channeled Dorothy Parker and Sylvia Plath on occasion, authored three poetry collections: Crowns (Aldrich Press) was inspired in part by her four grandchildren; Sugar and Sand was a Paterson Poetry Prize finalist, and Dear Kinfolk (ChayaCairn Press) earned a Paterson Award for Literary Excellence. Founder of the writing/editing firm Inedit, Gail was also the associate poetry editor for Tiferet and frequently participated in workshops and panels on the creative process.

Post New Comment:
Ross Kightly:
A perfect illustration of the virtues of doing it different when the others aren't there to get in the way and make a mess of it! Some of the references may not be totally transparent to a 70-year-old boy from Country Australia but they make perfect sense. Thanks for this one.
Posted 01/01/2016 09:20 AM
Nostalgia at its best! Love it Janice
Posted 12/31/2015 12:52 PM
Wonderful...loved the twist at the end! Judy
Posted 12/31/2015 11:58 AM
Can you imagine leaving a bike untethered and unattended today? About as safe as your purse on the back of a diner chair.
Posted 12/31/2015 09:29 AM
Jean :D:
I can relate to this favorite kind of NY celebration, especially since I just celebrated my 8th birthday in July.
Posted 12/31/2015 08:24 AM
One Jersey girl to another---one of those Schwinn's was mine!
Posted 12/31/2015 05:48 AM

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