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Prompt: The Day After

Holidays, holy days, observances – global, national, and personal – have great significance. But what comes after?
In Susan Rothbard’s poem, “February 15,” she looks not at Valentine’s Day but at the day after. What at first seems like a sad situation – unsold bouquets of roses – becomes a happy event.
February 15

Dozens of dozens of roses swaddled
in cellophane line the windows of Trader Joe’s.
I’ve come to buy eggs, bananas, a bottle
of seltzer, though I’ve thrown in more:
pretzels, Gouda, mix for a cake
I may never make. It’s winter—we live
from meal to meal, from fire to fire.
What pleasure we take is our solace
for all this cold, all this snow.
But today, at five, the sky is still blue
as the cashier offers me roses for free
and I walk to my car not minding the cold
so much. What a wonder it is to see shoppers
like me with cellophane poking from the tops
of their bags. We all want something for nothing,
we’re all bringing home roses. I imagine tonight
across the county: roses, roses, opening, opening.

by Susan Rothbard (from Birds of New JerseyBroadkill Press, 2020)

In this cold, Valentine month, we will be writing about “the day after.” What happens the day after Christmas, a birthday, the summer solstice, a birth, a death, Thanksgiving, a wedding? What happens on the day after Labor Day? (Here’s one take on that day after)
Special days are sometimes special; sometimes they are not. But for this prompt, we’re interested in the day after that day. Choose a day that appears on all our calendars, or appears only on your calendar.


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