A Poem by Alyssa D. Ross






If People Were Safe



It was another bitter winter in Northern Virginia.

He was making music and I was stocking make-up

and we were both teaching classes, still learning each other

when the snow started to come down around us.


They were tiny flakes at first that piled up fast.

We watched the sheet of snow grow to five inches

before they cancelled all of our classes.

We stayed up all night waiting and wondering


if people were safe and wishing it would never stop

so that we could stay in that house together.

The next morning, we awoke to the shining,

white silence that accompanies two feet


of fresh snow still-falling in February,

the cold month of my birth.

Our unexpected freedom meant that we’d been gifted

a real breakfast without restraint:


no molasses granola bars or bruised fruits,

we would make a breakfast feast

with soft-fried eggs and uncured bacon,

dishes that take time. The best item would,


of course, be his secret recipe

Belgian waffles with big squares and marshmallow mouth feel.

I poured mimosas and watched the snow

while the seasoned batter baked in his special


ron skillet that browned the batter around the edges,

leaving behind a vanilla aroma that lingered

in the living room for days after the first forecast.

We touched toes on the couch while we consumed


the meat and sweets that were normally reserved

for the weekend, when we had time to appreciate decadence.

Maple syrup stuck my tongue, making me forget the days to come.






Doctor Alyssa D. Ross is native to Guntersville, Alabama, though she studied art and literature in Northern Virginia for many years. While teaching at George Mason University, she attained her MFA in Creative Nonfiction. She later earned a PhD from Auburn University where she now teaches Composition, Literature, and Technical Writing. Her educational endeavors also include teaching writing classes for the Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project. Representative  publications include nonfiction, poetry, fiction, digital texts, and hybrid work. Her writing has appeared in Meat for Tea, Vine Leaves Press, Phoebe Journal of Literature and Art, The Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Shanti Arts Quarterly, and Hawaii Pacific Review, among others.


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