SHOVELING SNOW, 1952

My Austrian grandmother

stands by a window

listening to my shovel scrape

the snow as it falls.

By tomorrow

my jagged path

will disappear again

into smoothness,

but she worries

that school children,

small and wrapped in wool,

may lose their way

if sidewalk slides into snowdrift.

Tonight when this work is done

I will sit in stocking feet

at a table steaming

with liver dumplings and broth,

sip homebrew

until I feel numb and good.

Grandfather will smoke Luckies

by and old Philco,

half hearing Vaughn Monroe

sing “Shine on

Shine on harvest moon

Up in the sky….”

She will turn up the oven

to give me warmth,

lean towards me on an elbow

and tell again

how poor they were in the old country.

 
 
 
 
 

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