Early in the morning on New Year’s Day, in my apparent eagerness to get right to work on all of my resolutions, I climbed out of bed and headed for the stairs, then I proceeded to fall down every last one of them.

I made an impressive racket in my tumble. My husband came running bleary-eyed from the bedroom at the sound of my fall, and I swear he looked worse than I did, confused, worried, unsure of where I keep my life insurance policy ….

Turns out I was fine. I didn’t even have a bruise to show for my experience. I was a little sore the next day, but I think that was the result of a long hike my family took to celebrate the holiday, rather than my spill. I was lucky.

I’m pretty big on symbolism, which is probably obvious, since, you know, POET. But really, I don’t know which part of my morning fall experience is most significant. The fall itself seems to portend a year, or maybe even a decade, of chaos and calamity. But the part where I jumped up and had a good laugh at myself? That part seems propitious. In fact, that’s how I’d like every day to be. I really do tend to set out on each day’s adventure with a combination of enthusiasm and faith, and even if things don’t go as planned, I get through it all unscathed.

Here’s to 366 days of adventure and surprise in 2020. I think it’s going to be a very good year.

Karen Craigo is the Poet Laureate of Missouri.


Augury, 2020


This morning, the first

of a new year, new decade,

I fell down the stairs —

the whole flight, feet first,

then sideways, with a rump-

pump-pump at the bottom.

I sat there a minute, touched

all my parts, flexed my arms

and legs, and it turns out

I’m fine, not a scratch

or bump, so take that,

year: Bring me your worst,

and I will give it back to you,

unscraped, astounded.

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