Sampling of poems


Love's Wakeup Call 

I eye the swirl of dancers  
from the shadows, the blind  
of my protective shell  
tucked inside judgment’s armor,  
tethered by my chattering mind 

In time, the cadence counts me in  
I set mask and shield aside,  
tentatively join the jumble  
of waving arms and bodies  
My heart pries open beat by beat  
tears in motion streak my reddened cheeks 

I recall my younger self, hoping  
yet dreading to be asked to dance  
never one to take a chance  
until a woman broke through my wall  
truth finally dared to answer love’s wakeup call  

The music ends  
I retrieve mask and shield,  
tuck them loosely under my arm  
my love and I, hand in hand,  
walk into the night, the future,  
shame left to the shadows 

First place  winner in Princess Ronkonkoma Productions 2020-21 Poetry Contest, Nonconformity category


Colorado Rain  

Clouds zoom in on thunder’s back  
The sky kneels to touch brown-red cliffs 
Slate-gray rain smacks sidewalks 
refills shallow ponds 
then stops abruptly  
like a child's tears  
Shadows play off the glistening rocks  
as they dry under the bright rays  
of the returning sun 

Published in The Avocet, Summer 2021 (print)



Poetry not your thing. 
You don’t say so but I read 
in your eyes the sorry 
that you asked
what I do. 
I hesitate and then confess: 
I write poetry. 

I want to tell you 
in the silence that follows 
poetry’s not my thing either. 
It just flows from my pen 
in spurts — ink spilled before 
I can stop it. 

Poetry lets me off the hook 
no plot lines, no character arcs. 
It peers through beveled windows, overturns 
stones, seeks patterns in coffee grounds. 
It lives in snapshots 
rather than movies. 

I want to tell you 
poetry sipped is poetry 
savored. Espresso with a shot 
of Sambuca at a sidewalk cafe. 
Try it. You may develop 
a taste for it. 

But I gulp my coffee 
usually while reading something 
that’s not poetry. My empty cup 
reminds me to notice.

First place winner in the Nassau County Poet Laureate Society 2021 Poetry Contest; publication pending in 2022


Early Warning 

I watched cicadas tumble out of trees yesterday 
wondered at their public death throes 
prayed those hard-back creatures 
would fly to camouflage again 
like film running in reverse 

Summer’s symphony has gone silent 
My mind leaps ahead 
to leaves turning rust, 
stark snow rising to hip height 
my body tenses with the dreaded chill 

I drag myself from this daydream 
return gratefully to August 
however still its nights

Published in The Avocet, Summer 2020 



Before anyone carves up the moon and sells it 
to the highest bidder for condo-ringed golf courses, 

fake palms and wrought iron gates, 

tell me, please, 

will it be the bright one I see poking through the branches 
of the majestic maples in my backyard when I draw 
the shades before turning in for the night? 

Or the huge orange one surprising drivers 
rushing toward the Jericho Turnpike horizon? 
As that moon rises, the contours of a face emerge, 
happy just to be there. Like Humpty, before his famous fall? 

I hope they don’t choose the one lighting up
the Long Island Sound on warm summer nights
when fishing boats sidle up to the dock 
to unload weary passengers clutching their catch of the day, 
poles and tackle boxes perhaps lined with empties. 

Or the thin crescent of light that floats
effortlessly in a crisp dark sky 
after the first snowfall, before the plows arrive. 

The moon draws the tides into a dance with life itself, 
so, no, my moons over Long Island are not for sale.

Published in Amethyst Review



The glue that binds us 
has hardened and 
cracked in the cold 
war of lies and contempt. 
It no longer adheres. 
You can peel it off with ease, 
roll it between thumb and fingertips 
into a handful of dust. 
Make a wish and blow it away.

Published in Shot Glass Journal



(All poems © by Emily-Sue Sloane)