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


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

No comments: