All day the sky
breaks over my head in billows.
Wind comes. Tall grasses bow.

          Today is my sister’s birthday,
the one who always held silver coins
in a silk purse, each polished bright,
          I used an eraser to clean
old pennies. When one dropped
I’d pick it up, tuck it away, no matter
which side it fell on.

          We have not talked in thirty years.
I am cleaning out the woodstove now.
The emptying. What we burned. How fire
scours silence.

Susan Roney-O’Brien has published two chapbooks and three full-length poetry collections. Nominated for numerous Pushcart Prizes, and published widely, she serves on the Worcester County Poetry Association’s Program Committee , curates a monthly poetry venue, facilitates free poetry workshops in local libraries, keeps bees, raises chickens.