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
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
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
PRIME REAL ESTATE
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 DEATH OF CIVILITY
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)