Many of these poems will be of the city of Schenectady from early 1900 to the present.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010



That damn radio
day and night with
church songs
she would sing
with the announcer
blessing Jesus for
everything she had.

Pray tell,
what did she have?

That same old
formica table -
white with red
chipped paint.
One over sized basin
for a sink -
soiled dish towels
hanging, drying
draped over one
piece of wood.
A dented white
metal cabinet
filled with foggy
plastic glasses -
ceramic cocoa bowls,

Every other day
she held onto a ice
pick – clenched in
her aging hand
defrosting her old

Those knees...
they had to be raw.
She knelt on linoleum
day and night
Praying out loud -
half crying, saying -
"Thanks. Thanks."

Her slippers worn
her apron dingy
she never wanted
anything new - God
wouldn't like it -
she had to sacrifice -

I still see the old
black iron pan
resting on a stove
without a lid...
scolded herself
holding it in place -
her pantry had a liner,
red little frills at the
edge, red and white
flowers –

cups, saucers
lined perfectly in
No one touched a
single item in her
pantry – And,
If the old door
creaked, or the
calendar shook
on her pantry door -
Grandmother appeared
wondering what it was
you took?

A pull string
hung in the middle of
her kitchen – hit her
head, since a cord
connected it to her
damn radio –
it connected life.

As she aged a hassock
placed at her feet,
lifting them…
her knees too old,
too frail, to hold
her as she prayed...

Her home made
curtains blew in the
wind - she ached to reach
the window sill,
staring at a pane
of glass.

Old and aging,
She never, never
wanted to cry - but
I felt her tears,
her aging heart.

She never gave up
old "Zebra Bread."
a toaster – proud, as
her curled thumbs
flipped the sides,
testing to see if the
toast was done.

Each morning I sat
with her at her kitchen
table, both of us had
cracked ceramic
bowls – and we
tossed, dried old
Italian bread – Dandy
Crackers, Ritz and Graham,
Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes,
and cookies from her old
antique cookie jar –
a bear smiled at me. . .

I loved her cookie jar
filled with striped
cookies from "Woolworth’s"
Those cookies made
me happy.
On Tuesdays, Grandma
climbed the inside
staircase to the second
floor – holding a brown
paper bag. . .

I followed – watched as
her old hands filled
her jar with cookies –
patiently waiting, and
she handed me one;
her gold tooth shinning
as she smiled.

I waited, squirmed
in the chair at the table,
begging with my eyes
for more.

Now - I wonder why
Grandma’s pans hung
from nails in her pantry?
I wonder why her
bread box was nailed shut?

The cookie jar, I
remember most - yellow,
green – eyes of a funny
bear watching – but,
those damn church songs
embarrassed me!

Her homemade curtains
blew in the wind -
echoes of how God
was going to change our

I played beneath the
opened kitchen window -
near Grandmother’s
plants -
her bleeding hearts.

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved

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