Gloria Heffernan


It has to be the blue mug,

the one that fits my hand like a chalice.

The coffee runs through the brewer,

and I stir in cinnamon until the aroma

fills the room like incense.


Maxwell trots into the kitchen

to take his place by my side,

the furry acolyte who will lead

the processional into the living room

where ritual resumes

in the predawn silence.


Folding myself into

a corner of the couch

I watch the shadows

take shape over the hill.


The quilt Beth made for me

is draped over the couch,

like an altar cloth I unfold

with the dexterity that comes

from mindful repetition.


The outline of cedars

across the open field emerges

through soft pink light

and the windows melt away.


Listening to the hymn of

my own rhythmic breath,

I watch the sacrament of dawn

breaking over the pines

and drink in the new day.

Gloria Heffernan’s upcoming poetry collection, What the Gratitude List Said to the Bucket List, will be published by New York Quarterly Books in 2019. Her chapbook, Some of Our Parts, was published by Finishing Line Press. In addition, her work has appeared in over fifty journals including Chautauqua Literary Journal, Stone Canoe, Main Street Rag, Columbia Review, Louisville Review, and The Healing Muse. She is an adjunct instructor at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, and holds a Master’s Degree from New York University.