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


Thursday, November 18, 2010

We Have Returned

We Have Returned

Giant buildings - no bigger
than my finger –
at the curve -swimming
in the ocean – huts of blue –
empty - last nights
foot prints show at low
tide – nothing has changed

I recall laughing – then a hush
it was last night before
seaweed washed beyond a
tractors tracks disturbing ladies
carrying plastic bags
shells to send home – as if to
prove, “We are here.”

Some jog – some linger in
a morning fog – some alone –
others walk hand in hand
to view another sunrise – to
snap another photo – even as
a tide rolls in and out –
our sun brings silence as it
reaches up and out of the

At high noon when heat
burnt tender flesh, blisters –
mothers plaster lotion
onto bare skin – believing in
At high noon children stir
sand into castles – a dream
destroyed when day is night

Men cover up their nose with
Noxema – strut up and down
the shore still staring at a girl
in a bikini – forgetting what
it is – but knowing when

their children played in sand
and slept in blue huts along
an ocean, slept in simple
rooms – heard the rush of
a high tide slapping wooden

laughing never ceased, as
children - free to walk
along a shore –
tossing bread to sea gulls
laughing – knowing tomorrow
would be like today – no one
thought time would pass so
quickly as a tide greeted a
moon in a night sky.

Thursday, November 11, 2010



It has been so long since you left.

Tell me, how could something stab you in your heart?

Remember when you brought your son to New York City?
You were happy when you left, holding his hand, waving
from the train. Grandmother told me, “He looked like a
gangster.” I guess you seldom wore a suit.

Remember the apple tree, pear, and cherry… they are
all dead too. The house is getting old, run down, but
I still visit. Did they call it Goose Hill in 1928?

I wish you were walking with me, talking to me, holding
my hand when I was a child. I never knew you.

Women in the neighborhood work, wear pants, and
drive cars. Some don’t believe in marriage, or children,
and some women choose to have children without
a husband. You had your marriage planned: three days
and you were married.

I wonder if you felt pain, as Grandmother, the night
your son died? That was the beginning of the end, wasn’t it?
Now, so many people have passed away, or they live alone
without family or friends.

I still want to know - how did something stab your heart?

Remember when you told the boys not to climb the old
water tank, but they didn’t listen. The brick building in the
alley, the one where fruit was stored, it still stands; as children
we etched our name on brick.

Did you know you were leaving? Did you?

People commute to New York City by Amtrak, in no time.
Trains move fast. And, no one makes home made wine, or
gathers on a Sunday for a feast around the old maple table.

Were you sad, when you had to leave? Did you know?
Did someone stab you in your heart? Or, was it really a crate?

Down Street is empty, stores you would remember are torn
down. That railroad bridge crossing Erie Boulevard
near your home on Green Street is still there; but someone
robbed the sign, the city designated your green house by the
old tracks, historical.

You were a good man, an honest man with a family.

Did you watch from heaven when the boys sat around
the table and burned the mortgage? It was the best day of
their lives.

Grandmother never placed a thing in the bow window
where you laid inside a casket. They drained your
blood into a tub, in your own bathroom.

Your friend, the one blown up in his car in front of a
hotel, he was on his way to testify on your behalf? He
must be with you now. All you did was work hard, and
deliver fruit; but the fruit men didn’t want to pay.

Nancy Duci Denofio
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