Thank you for taking time to read the material posted here. I would be pleased if you could comment, and I promise to comment back. Sincerely, Nancy


Thursday, August 12, 2010



he was sweeping
in front of the bar
told him my name
his arm’s opened
“Jesus Mary and Joseph”
repeating my name –

two years ago we
stopped to say hello -
he was younger
looked a lot like Mama -
his voice – sounded
like Mama

he said things she
would have said –
we all knew Mama
It seemed she fell
into his body – took
over his voice

took on talking just
like her, even my
husband stared my
way – then he reached
to hold my hand across
the table – he never
reached before -

now his face - hallow
his walk uneven
his pants falling from
his waist – tied with

wore a baseball cap
never saw him in a
baseball cap – but
he still told all his

still swore he knew
everything about
everyone in town –
then told us he was
opening the bar – been
closed for sometime
but for his son – telling
once again his Mamas
wish – he would never

promised her he’d
never drink, never take
a sip – he never did –
but served it well inside
a bar where a bear’s head
was stuffed, and deer’s
eyes followed you

showed us around the
old place, told us he
refused a new sink –
liked the open kind
put cleaning stuff in
clear sight

his blue eyes a different
shade of blue – half
closed as if they were
tired – as if a shade -
closing life in front of him

he called Mama’s
home his – when he
was in the service
took a train and walked
up to the avenue

he called it home
when he reached our
yellow house – before
I was born –
it was Mama who

paid for him – to
send him to college –
going to be someone
someday – she would

so he went to college
and Mama paid -
he opened the bar
taught his son to ride
a bike – forgot about
the money Mama gave

did he recall all the days
he popped into the house
and Mama fed him –
and Grandmother
listened as he spoke
of sixteen children –

he talked about his
recent bout with
cancer – we never
knew – showing off
twenty six stitches
in the back of his

we never knew he
was sick or had
cancer – he bragged
about how quickly
he healed, he told
us, “no scars.”

he talked about his
wife who doesn’t
remember much –
she’s a baby once
again – Alzheimer’s
she has a brain
disease, he told us
but getting better

he insists on no
nursing home, and
continued to say his
children were coming
home – one to run
the bar – another to
live up on the mountain
where he built a camp

he owns fifty six acres
bought it when he
placed a bet on a horse
and never did bet again –
he told us
he told us he’s got most
of them coming home

his children
he kept telling us how
great his wife was – and
ignored the past – when
she spent months away –
but he loved her, anyway
and brought up her baby
as his own

he seemed to forget
about the gossip
about the time she flew
away like a bird with
his own brother – and
now she removes her
clothes – in the living
room, when people are

I remember some
brothers of ten forgave
them, and others never
did – and the girls – some
never walked into his
bar – or smiled or looked
him straight into his eyes

he seemed to forget
about the house up on
the hill - Grandmother
lived – when she tried
hard to play a piano –
she thought she was

her children listened to
the same song over and
over – the more they
sang the harder she
pounded on those keys –

I watched as my own
Father stared at him,
remembering the days
he spent sitting with my
Mama at the bar

Father mumbled over
and over about how long
he sat, talking – but he
never did give free drinks
to the family – since all
that lived in that small
town, was family.

my Father talked about
the slate from Vermont
and he managed to get
it to the bar, my uncle,
because men would do
anything for a beer

his pool table still
sits in the center of
the room – I recall
the feet of small children
above the bar – back

his wife – her dark hair
beautiful she was – and
now missing all the
memories she made

he talked about his
cancer and how he
asked the doctors
“so what’s up?”
didn’t get it all,
at the top of the spine. . .

he said, “if I take the
stuff – makes me sick –
what will it do doc?”
he told us nothing –
so he said good bye
he’ll live as long as
god wants him to –

who would think
about his wife –
forgetting life – and
who thought he
probably will die
first – and the children
home, how pleased
he seemed.

he said goodbye with
a grin on his face,
promised when he
died, I would get his
seven books he wrote
about the bar –

his smile grew – his
eyes perked up – and
he knew he had one
hell of a story to tell,
and I asked him –

“Why have you waited.”

he never answered only
told me he picked
overgrown grass
around the grave stones
of all the kids, his Mama
and Papas too. And he
makes the sign of the
cross when he sees my
brothers name at the foot
of my Mamas father’s
grave, he too - talks to Mama

Nancy Duci Denofio

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