Poem of the Week | January 02, 2023

This week’s Poem of the Week is “New Year’s Day” by Olivia Muenz.

Olivia Muenz is a disabled writer from New York. She is the author of chapbook Where Was I Again (Essay Press, 2022) and her debut poetry collection is forthcoming from Switchback Books, which won the 2022 Gatewood Prize. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Louisiana State University, where she earned the Robert Penn Warren Thesis Award in prose and served as an editor for New Delta Review. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Massachusetts Review, Gulf Coast, Black Warrior Review, Pleiades, Denver Quarterly, and elsewhere. Find her online at oliviamuenz.com


New Year’s Day

I could be mean but that’s not me anymore
The river said so with a thousand branches floating away

I would say I hate ecopoetry but that’s not me anymore
A thick log goes by me slow and literal
The fog is everywhere a bit too literal

I don’t care about goodness anymore in the sense of being right
I cry into the river hoping it will cry right back

Am I happy or sad
I had an answer before I wrote this down

The fog is going away but I wish it would stay
I wish someone would say I’ve got you surrounded

Will anybody meet me here

Forgive my sincerity it’s the new year
Tomorrow I’ll write a joke that will split you in two


Author’s Note

I don’t really know who this poem is. I wrote it, if you can believe it, on New Year’s Day. I had recently gotten out of an emotionally abusive relationship and had no sense of reality, no sense of myself. It’s a very alienating thing because you feel both alienated from the world and alienated from yourself. It’s dissociative. Totally untethering. I felt extremely literal. I sat alone on a small dock on the Hudson in a thick fog trying to will newness. That’s all I really remember of her.