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


Thursday, October 28, 2010



Crossed a linoleum floor
to a paisley spread,
newly weds
side by side in
separate beds - two
children shared a
heated room; one sucked
her thumb, one wet
her bed.

His Uncle's boots untied,
perched on a stool near
a metal sign - selling
old stuff, “Antiques,” he

Cribs, pillows, one old
blanket hung to divide
a living space; his new
family all crammed
into one room -
Is this their honeymoon?

“Stay put, lots of space
right here, near the beach,”
his Uncle John tugged on
a sunburned arm.

Many a night we slept
on wet sand - youth
was on our side, and
traveled long distances
counting stars, counted
quarters for a hamburger,
but a place like this
should be torn down for
the sake of two children
laying side by side -
two children asleep
with toes sticking out of
the rail of a crib.

That night eighteen
wheelers cruised on a
beach road going eighty
miles per hour,
afraid to shut your
eyes -
as head lights
beamed into our room.

By morning light, while
pelicans were playing on
a dock – feet tip toed
passed a hanging blanket;
heard a couple snore -
glanced at two children
sharing a crib: sheets
the smell of urine.

Left paisley spreads and
separate beds, newly weds,
and children sharing one
small crib – in one room
among antiques, on a
beach they told us they

Nancy Duci Denofio
all right reserved

Saturday, October 23, 2010



A shot glass you once held and gave
to us – a souvenir
has been on display since you
passed away
at parties among gin – scotch - whiskey
and there - a Schlitz shot glass
peers at us with eyes unseen.

A simple token of you brings back
laughter – stories - tales of when you
too were here embracing life -
it was this a glass we brought . . .
I told you so
while I talked to you on the porch -
asking, “Please show us you are here

A different week - broken mirrors. . .
not knowing why two broke into
smithereens - then a glass moves
moving dust around - a clean circle,
we knew it was you

a meeting with a glass, he told me
to place inside my purse – so
that night – on our porch I asked
you to please give us a sign –
to know forever more
you are with us

we are sitting among all
who prayed to themselves
to be chosen – but was
it all our words – our talks
which mean so much – I knew
you were listening – I knew you
were following my steps

number one – we knew a medium
came through as she talked -
words of a child – what she
held inside a coffin – what she
wore to sleep – who was the last
one to hold her hand. . .
next a woman deep in depression –
another needing surgery – and
finally the girl in the blue blouse -
our eyes connected

she said, “I see two – a paternal
Grandmother pushing to be heard
first and your mother – holding
a baby in her arms.”
Every word connected us – but
when she held up her hand and
said, “Your mother is
talking about a little glass” my
husband nearly collapsed.
when she said, “The mirrors –
she didn’t break the expensive one…”
and when she told me not to
soak my feet, it was expensive -
supportive shoes I need. . .
mother’s words continued and
she wasn’t skipping a beat – she
did not want to stop telling
and all she said was perfectly
read -

now I know for sure your
with me – between us as we
ride – you said so, knowing I
do not drive. . .
you told us you were listening

like the good luck plant – a man
gave me – Irish Shamrocks -
on Mothers Day, he gave to me,
a stranger

so we continue – we communicate
without words – your love remains
strong now – as if we looked
eye to eye

Nancy Duci Denofio

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Cemetery Parking Lot

Here near the front door
near push carts -
near blue light specials -
watching a lady from the
salvation army, ringing a bell -
swinging a red bucket,
half smiling,
tilting her head -
half smiling -
near double doors -
the front entrance to
K-Mart -

I want to wait inside
our car - where a
cemetery surrounds
the hospital on the hill,
behind garbage bins -
near employee parking
where you can smoke...
I want to wait inside
the car while you
purchase paper towels,
toilet paper, garbage
bags, soap, and fabric
softener -

I wait in the car play
with the crank out window,
slip my fingers over
the steering wheel -
feel where a horn plays
music, feel a knob
which turns on wind shield
wipers - a knob -
to twist for headlights -
I wait in the car - remove
my shoes, toes touch a
brown - thicker - carpet
you replaced after you
spilled paint from a
hardware store -

I wait inside the car -
blow on windows draw
stick figures on glass -
blow on windows draw
houses, balloons and
cats -

I wait inside the car,
cover my legs with your
old navy blanket, rest
my head on a padded
arm rest - close my

and, I wait inside the
car - falling asleep -
listening to a bell held
by a half smiling lady
near double doors -
opposite the cemetery
where you were laid
to rest.

Nancy Duci Denofio
"What Brought You Here?"
published June 2010
Dystenium LLC

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Memories of Love

Dream with me -
become part of my world,
hold my hand, and share with me
collected memories of love.

Nature speaks in silent words
trees cling together
limbs covered in ice
magical, alive
a paramount to nature

each year I search a familiar brook,
a mountain top -
a current or a stream,
unending as our love -
we embrace - trees cling
together with frozen snow our
limbs bare.

Sunshine peeks through
branches, sparkling water
as it gives way to nature, rocks -
mounds of earth in the way

a stream flows, unending
in jagged lines, disturbing earth
creating a waterway deeper, deeper
in the woods.

Now, I stroll along paths where we
shared our love – so deep inside
a forest - greeting me – a familiar
brook where we became part of
nature sharing earth – skin glistens

Our love – unending - distance will
pull us apart, but not destroy love.
We share love among shadows
where snow has remained,
we melt together, becoming one.

Safe among the trees,
limbs, frozen
no feeling on bare skin -
sky of blue - high among towering
trees - below a stream
trickles from snow melting
to make way for ice –
for snow – for love.

Part Two

I made private plans with nature
to share my world with you,
so far away – love – changes
as seasons cause
water once flowing over stones
to forge as rapids, down –
away from our mountain

I share my thoughts
among the trees,
of you, and I - alone,
embracing in winter snow -
a stream never ends,
growing stronger - as love,
we connect arms -
tree limbs - connect life
in our forest.

So - let me share with you,
walk with me among the forest -
our path will meet once more,
its end, when I no longer dream
in winter white - when I melt in
springtime -

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved

Monday, October 4, 2010


Blood Lines 1966

It wasn't the hair, gauze shirt
with a zipper down the back
but, his voice...
so strong -
it rattled my bones -
broke my heart...
sent goose bumps down a spine.

Who, who was he before he turned
arms thin -
moccasins worn...
Strength came from his soul
it cried out...
reaching the nervous …

Care? Who - cares about yesterday,
today he gave his blood
his thin leg’s crossed
eyes lost in time
weaker now

all they noticed - a gauze shirt -
the beard -
worn moccasins,
not worn purple veins,
No one new his name.

Nancy Duci Denofio

Saturday, October 2, 2010



A black wreath collects flakes of snow for the fruit man.
A black wreath nailed to a door of old wood – while
snow decorates a wreath with white – as a soul of a
fruit man.

Spheres of crystal once frozen - cry from the upstairs
porch, dripping tears as the sun kisses morning –
releasing ice from night – allowing men now and
women to ascend the steps; dressed in black.

A footstep crushes a dead leaves, it’s November.
Women carry trays of food, their heads bent forward,
bowed in prayer, forward to hide emotions, or simply
bowed to step carefully and cursing winter. Women
with naked legs, rolled down stockings, and a black
over coat. A veil hides tears, only God knows.

“God, why have you taken John, a young man, a
husband, a father of three sons?”

A woman stares at the man who climbs stairs as
she listens to the words, shakes her head as if she
too is wondering about God.

“He wasn’t ready for the other side,” speaking to
a man, reaching the top of the stairway.

Men and women cross a sidewalk - see the wreath,
as specs of snow drip from under branches – crying
mourning too for John – the fruit man.

Men and women climb a narrow staircase - smell of
cedar clings to hand sewn drapes covering the top
of a stained glass window; visitors stare out to
Seneca Street then turn to climb four more steps to
the second floor – the mahogany door is open.

Here, others gather to pray, to stare at death, to
observe John sleeping between bow windows,
his parlor, his place to live, now still.

Flowers surround his casket – yet all you hear is
the dripping of water into a bucket, keeping his
body cold.

Women gather in the kitchen - talk about those
three long days when Nancy hid her tears, her
head laying on a pillow where the words John
stitched with her hands – catches tears.

Her head on the pillow where her husband
was left alone to die – not knowing heaven was
so close – not knowing to stay by his side.

Women talk - pour a bit of espresso, slice hot
bread - Nancy will never know who took up space –
who drank – who ate, or cooked homemade bread?
She won’t recall who hugged her, wiped tears and
tasted salt on her cheeks – who felt her pain.

John – she thought – he never cared about one
gold tooth as it shined catching light when she
laughed, never noticed old worn dingy aprons,
or watched as she twisted clothes like twisting
her hair into a braid. John, never saw pin holes
in her dress where flowers were placed on their
wedding day.

God took her sunlight in the winter of her life,
three sons to raise alone, in a world where
immigrants were frowned upon.

She saw the undertaker drain John’s blood into
their tub on Monday morning – three days he
laid between bow windows, where plants grew
in daylight – his soul left long ago – through
white light.

She won't remember friends – how they
carried on, some gawking at the casket,
commenting on his youth, how peaceful he
appeared, asleep between hand sewn drapes
near pictures of his son’s.

She won’t remember friends who washed
dishes, after feeding the hungry, or cleaning
her kitchen – those who remained at her side
a day of two friends who whispered each other
“What will become of them, a mother
and her three sons?”

John, asleep beneath the earth for years -
Nancy walked those twenty blocks to his
resting place in all seasons of the year – to
place flowers from her garden at his headstone.

As age began to take a toll – her feet began
to swell, her hands shake as flowers were
placed at his grave; she never complained . . .

She talked with John, her gold tooth catching
sunlight. On her walk, slower now passing
strangers – nodding hello – still talking to her
husband, promising to meet at heavens gate.

Alone at his resting place is where her tears
fell onto marble, crouched on her knees, on
snow, moist grass, on leaves, on ice –
She prayed aloud - touched his photograph.

John’s friend Ralph – she told him,
"He tried to help – tried to tell why your
life ended - but the Fruit Men went to
Syracuse - Ralph died - so at the end the
Fruit Men won.

Nancy Duci Denofio