Year-end Inventory

No winter peace,
the small retailer
sweeps aside the chaos
of Christmas sales,
revealing too many to count
New Years Day,
and pay tax April 15.
Scratch and dent, forsaken,
or mistakes needing resolution,
all echo my emotional inventory,
foibles and triumphs both
caused residue far beyond
the corner cobwebs.
Too late for the clearance table,
the stagnant drag along with me
into a new year,
expecting rebirth


Blaise Kielar received Honorable Mention in the 2022 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize for an excerpt from his memoir in progress, "Be Heard: The Quiet Kid Who Started the World’s Loudest Violin Shop." He opened Chapel Hill’s first violin shop in 1978 and retired from a music retail career by transitioning Electric Violin Shop into the first worker-owned co-op music store in the United States. He plays jazz violin and clarinet in several bands and leads the Bulltown Strutters, Durham’s community New Orleans brass band.