"Tears of the New Year" from Spanish Coffee/Black, No Sugar by A.B. Lugo

Tears of the New Year
—a.b. lugo

Mamá used to cry
shortly after midnight
on New Year's Day

The ball would drop
in New York
we'd clink glasses
of coquito
or sparkling cider
and Mamá would cry

"Why are you crying?"
I'd ask
"Because I am thinking
of all of my family
who have died
and cannot see
this new year"
she'd reply

"But no one
in our family
has died this year
Your parents
died years ago"

"And they're still
not here!!"
she'd shoot back

She would
celebrate later
but the
tears of the new year
were always present

As more people
in my life
started to leave me
I began to understand

Mamá's gone now
So is Papá
Grandparents
long perished
Several aunts
and uncles too
A couple cousins
including one
who left this year

As December ends
making way
for January
signaling the
change in year
I will
like Máma
stop
take a moment
inhale
and shed a tear