Shoveling: A Poem

Snowy scene out of window with candle

I live in the Finger Lakes of New York, and late February means it is undoubtedly still winter! We know there’s likely a good month or so of snow and cold left even as we send well wishes and aid to Texas.

The final of my poetry manuscript has been sent off to the printer. Here’s one of the poems from Old Stones Understand, first written about six years ago, but still appropriate for the conditions outside my window and perhaps in many hearts.


What if
while shoveling tonight,
I stop
just for a moment
cease the stooping, stabbing, groaning and lifting.

turn my face skyward,
close my eyes,
hear the wind
as my shoulders relax,
the handle slack in my unclenched hands.

My ghost age six
rides in on that wind,
whispering giggles
into gusts of cold –
that breathless moment
at the end of a wicked sled run,
with flakes collecting
on my eyelids
like they did when
I finished by making snow angels,
just lying there,
collecting snow

like wishes,
like potential,
as they are
just now:

icy absolution,
melting away
all flaws,
all complaints
and infractions,
guilt, real or imagined.

Just so
on this frosty night
we pause and are
made clean,
new in the world
once again.

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