Thursday, March 3, 2011



One morning on my way to school,
I reached on tip toes toward a ledge
below the window where Mama kept
her orange pills – the window faced
Seneca Street – Mama always watched
when I ran across the market lot to
fetch the correct tuna or the right
American bread – she stared until I
crossed Seneca Street, holding what
she told me to buy at the big market.

Don’t know why I took her bottle of
orange pills early on a school day,
to shove into my pocket of a freshly
starched dress, pink with flowers.

Behind Grandmother’s bushes near
red beans where I made mud pies, I
removed the top – it popped right off.
All those orange pills stared at me,
as if they had every like all those people
in our neighborhood.

First, I glanced to the upstairs window
making sure Grandmother was still
praying on her knees – so I chew one –
chewed it – then I chew another, and

I left the bushes and began my walk to
school, first past Charlie’s Grocery
store; everyone said it will close soon
because of the big market. But old
Charlie was sitting in his rocker still
chewing on his cigar – he pretended he
never saw me.

My walk down Avenue A toward my
school only one block but filled with
Mamas who never worked, that’s when
I noticed one pounded her rug with
a broom on the upper porch. I pretended
I didn’t see her, turned to hide behind
the old oak trees which once lined
streets here in our neighborhood
Mama’s friend never looked my way –
as I peeked around the tree chewing
one more orange pill, and then another
and another.

I took another orange pill from the jar,
and chewed it – glancing back toward
the lady pounding the rug, she looked
funny, kind of blurred, kind of foggy.

Into the pocket of the pink flowered
dress, I shoved Mama’s pills. I knew
it was time to be in school.

You see, I thought I took enough
to live.

Twinkle - Twinkle Little Star

Humming the song to myself, leaning
my head against the push out window
of our Studebaker,

How I wonder what you are?”

I began to draw stick figures as if they
were me, drawing fast and rubbing it
drawing and rubbing it, over and over
rubbing it until it was clean – breathing
rubbing – breathing harder – rubbing
of our Studebaker - rubbing it clean –
breathing – rubbing – breathing – rubbing
and drawing, erasing it – exhaling,
breathing, drawing, and erasing it

Up above the world so high
I believe it was my first time to fly.

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved @2011

No comments: