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, March 31, 2011

Her Open Window

Fresh steps in snow
reveal her footprints -
as evening paints her
garage a deeper shade
of yellow – as squirrels
leap over steep banks
of snow – a black crow
circles dried toast, she
tossed from the
it was her window…

Small red beans attached
to thorns - her bushes
coated with ice -
crack – letting color peak
from winters coat – the
sun disappears behind the
garage - near tulips
fighting to be born
again - near pears resting
on the ground. . .

Her round pedestal table
is cold, naked without
her special table cloth -
hand sewn flowers at the
edge - dried flowers
on display from last
summer. . .

Her pedestal table near
a second floor window -
now cluttered with
notes . . .
A wind enters - from
the second
window –
notes tossed
I rush to gather paper -
another gust of wind
enters from her
window. . .

Nancy Duci Denofio
(c)all rights reserved

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


1954 Beneath a Pull String

Your thumb curled back,
Lick it…
Lick it…
Turn pages of your bible
while you sit on garments,
pressing them.
Everything is home made -
curtains above a radiator
move in the night. . .
back and forth, back and forth
your apron covers a navy
blue dress – you must be
going to church – but right
now your are stirring homemade
cocoa –
stir it - stir – stir –

Grandmother’s footsteps reach
the landing on the second
floor, her voice calls out
Grand daughter, it’s time
little legs bend as hands help
to climb a twisting staircase.

You sat there beneath a pull string
a string that hit your head each
time you sat to join me for my
morning cocoa. On your back
a red sweater, half buttoned,
holes at your elbow, on the
left side.

You twisted in your chair
back and forth, now I know
it was to get comfortable, and
you smiled.

You were never tall but the
string, the one to pull for
light in your kitchen kept
swinging back and forth.

You would connect a long
tube, but now I know it was
a cord to your radio – every
afternoon and night – listening
to church songs.

Often I noticed your ankles
were never thin? Never did
ask you why?

You would connect another
long cord to a toaster, to the
pull string for light and music.
Your curled thumbs flipped toast
from side to side as you open
up to investigate, to see if the
toast was done.

Strange how a cord so
insignificant would be a
memory connecting you and me.

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011



Few friends knew why I sat
on a snow bank, close to
frozen ice – watching them
skate –

My frayed red mitten would
be covering my pointer finger
as I drew names, houses, on
ice –

Mother wondered why I never
wanted to skate – she knew I
detested brown straps around
my ankles on sparkling white
skates –

We walked up Seneca Street
turned left on Lenox Road and
a few more blocks, there it was
Steinmiz Park, frozen for all
neighborhood children –

Wind blew in my face, coated
nose, Ice stiffened gloves –
then I sat and drew pictures
with my pointer, with frayed
red mittens –

Watched mother skate, and
all my friends. Watched girls
twill as I did when I danced
on toe – or in slippers of pink
or black –

I watched until mother and
my brother were ready to take
another cold - walk home, now
wind against my back –
shoving me –

No one saw the city I carved
in ice, left behind near the
snow bank.

Nancy Duci Denofio
2011 @all right reserved

Wednesday, March 2, 2011



On our way to “Middle” -
near the border of Vermont,
mother - is buried - in “Middle.”

The County Fair is over,
land – bare; I begged for
cotton candy - there.

A one - room schoolhouse
need of fixing – missing
wood, broken windows,
brick bruised. You
can hear echoes of children.

Down the road across
a creek, beyond sliced
slabs of slate: A vintage
bar still living, patrons still
sitting on the same broken
down porch.

Past the bar, we take a
sharp right, twisting like
a slippery creek – a gentle
rain slips down slate – hard
rain – a creek grows
moreover, roads closed.

We pass tiny huts with
many children – half clothed -
playing near a rusted car
tires – gone. . .
Clothes of brown hang
from trees.
Mother called them guilders.

A sharp right - I remember –
as if, it was today. . .
fear inside while mother
talked about bad men
Inside massive gates
and towers; men
hold big guns – a giant
building with tiny windows
letting in little sun. . .
And, the closer we get the
larger it grows - more fear
as my feet, kick the back of
the front seat and I feel
my own heart beat. . .

Back, when I leaned my
head onto the window of our
car, pressed my nose against
glass – eyes wide – a tear,
inside – praying to myself –
I will never, ever be bad.

Today, we pass the massive
prison, filled with bad men,
those who murdered kept
inside while men still stand
in towers holding guns.

Behind the prison little
houses where guards sleep
many empty – then visitors
parking lot – filled.

Still we twist and turn as
a creek follows to our left –
houses hidden behind
maple trees – holding buckets
their spine aches - giant barns –
fewer cows roam.

Another sharp left – up a
Hill - Saint Mary’s Catholic
Church. At five – I marched
down the Aisle as a miniature
bride as my parent’s did
so long ago.

Mother said, “Keep those
white patent leathers clean,
and lift your dress – there is
mud around these parts.”

Recalling the aisle, when
I walked front and center
down a red carpet – how
different that would be today.

Mother lays sleeping -
told me inside a bronze
Nothing changes in
“Middle” – she was one
of seventeen children,
she – the first girl to die,
today only two survive.

We cross the river with
no name – pass my
mother’s best friends
home across from the
green grocery store
- close to the rivers

We pass my Aunt’s
house next door to my
Uncle PJ’s Bar – her home
built before the Civil
War – here trees have
grown around head
stones, as if the spirit
climbed trees – looked
in at me, when I was
trying hard to sleep.

Down the road a bit
to the left, my mother’s
home it was once
there sitting high on
a hill – a giant porch
as a child – a stair
way - we climbed and
slid down, when no one
was around -

A hill where I once
played - tumbled,
rolled, pushed on a sled

behind mother’s home
where she learned to
milk a cow.
Where she played
baseball with ten brothers
– where mountains of
Vermont stood close
in the distance –
a short walk where she
would stay – this day.

Now a left, on a dirt
road – approaching a
black gate – locked – we
step around tree trunks -
climb a slight hill –
we pass grandmother’s
stone – grandfather’s –
where my older brother
sleeps at the foot of his

I make the sign of the cross.
I read - to myself – all those
dead members of my family
resting near Vermont.

A stone path gets shorter as
land fills up with those who
lay beneath ground –
stretching beyond my view
of the mountains.

I see a heart shaped stone
and read the Irish Prayer –
my father’s name,
who is not there.

I stare – I turn – away. . .
talk in soft sounds
alone on a stone path. . .
no one hears, I never stay
to pray at her grave – but
talk to her as my feet
carry me from stone to
stone, so many belong in
this small town.

I gaze up at the mountain,
smile – I know she is
here – today – with me
nevertheless, mother still
travels in
her spirit world –
mother still sees me,
warns me of a rising creek -
listens when I speak.

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved @2011