My mother died in January
in a year when record cold
carried Long Island into stillness.
We didn’t bury her ashes right away.
She stayed in my living room
awaiting spring’s thaw.
I greeted her each morning
nodded good night before turning in
made her no promises.
Snow fell about every other day.
Metal-gray skies delivered silence
The scrape of a shovel on the driveway —
only that made sense to me.
The work was to clear row after row
carve out a double-wide path
separating anchored from adrift
a space in which to breathe.
Emily-Sue Sloane (emilysuesloane.com) is an award-winning Long Island poet who writes to capture moments of wonder, worry and human connection. She is the author of a full-length collection, We Are Beach Glass (2022), and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in journals and anthologies, including Amethyst Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Corona; Evening Street Review, Long Island Quarterly, Nassau County Poet Laureate Society Review, Never Forgotten: 100 Poets Remember 9/11, Mobius Magazine, Muddy River Poetry Review, Panoply, Poeming Pigeon: From Pandemic to Protest, Rumors, Secrets & Lies Anthology, The RavensPerch, and Suffolk County Poetry Review.