Thursday, August 26, 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
all rights reserved

Wednesday, August 25, 2010



don't look at me
because I am poor
push my cart
from store to store
wear but what I have
on my back
you see, I'll never
look back -

don't compare me
with your friends
all those who knew
me have come but to
a graceful end -
don't talk about me
when I pass -

for it is you
who doesn't know
who I am -

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved

Sunday, August 22, 2010



No other gown
threads . . .
inside – out - as light
catches a flicker
of gold - as a leg
extends, and the
other, a twist, a
turn, and golden
threads sparkle

dark shadows
a crowd of different
shapes - eyes
watch a girl
in pink - golden
threads - catch light. . .
she told her
dressmaker – inside

it’s hot, this make
up, don’t hurry,
don’t run, don’t
sweat, don’t trip
in high heels while
I walk with smaller
steps, and turn
a bit to let the
light catch golden

don’t look at any
of the ghosts in
the dark, with eyes
that see –

flash – flash – flash

my eyes see circles
of round brilliant
light – larger than
tiny lights, I must
follow the runway

she twists slightly
a body moves to
music – twists
slightly – like a
Tootsie Roll

then with gusto –
shoulders held back,
head facing ghosts
knowing eyes are
watching every
move – her head
twists a body
follows to a
designated spot –

and, you stand to
stare – too move
ever so slowly –
a bit cock eyed as
a hip pushes out
as a leg kicks
across another as
a body twists and

keep these arms
still – remember to
look from left to

flash – flash – flash

those circles are
back – now I have
to talk – talk – talk
as slow as I walked

“Thank you. Thank
you,” now tell them
your name and what
great state you are
from – clearly, and
turn to face the ghosts
remember the eyes
in the dark

her head is still – as
she hears the audience
cheering – clapping
her shoulders move
and once more those
golden threads
sparkle in the light
and a slight nod
a slight smile
a slight movement
then twist, a body
leads, a head is

walk tall, don’t
hunch over, tall and
straight, straight to
the dressing room,
don’t trip, don’t
look down – never
look down

it’s over
ghosts have simply
left the room, and
circles of light are
now fluorescent

she recalls the

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Below Zero

Curtains moved by
forced air; she
needed angel wings.
Television blasted
through walls: feet,
cold, skin breaking,
lost; what belonged
had disappeared.

His fingers long and
slender, his eyes
hurt, he walked and
his body jerked.

Cold feet on a
strangers bed
this angel never learned
to fly, she never
belonged, never
moved, pretending to
fall off to sleep.

He locked doors
tapped keys
a madman. His angel
lay there lifeless.

No way out - no walking
no screaming -
no strength to toss a
chair to break glass
of to fly out of a window.

Polite before drugs - he
must have given to play

While the angel slept
she recalled trust, but
knew not everyone was good.

It was something in the
smile that turned him
into stone - a sick mind,
with no place else to go.

Even if her angel wings
had grown – they had no
way to bring her home.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Aging Bundles of Debris

Seven... locked inside a storm cellar
bulbs hang to dry in damp -
darkness of night.
Sleds are posed for winter play - long
piles of wood where Mama said,
“Mice live.”

I reach to find a glove grandmother
used in her garden, stiff from yellow

Light enters near an oval window
covered in last years paper, and
saran wrap taped to studded walls.
It’s beyond the door where steps
of cement lead up to reach outside.

Tiny pieces of cement catch between
toes, tickle bare feet. Spider webs
hang near a light switch, so I don’t
touch… silver strands of silk - still -
until the bulb heats and moves the web

I am stranded here with aging bundles
of debris -

I see it now! Feel it now -
Locked down in a storm cellar -
a play spot - a hide out,
a storage room for grandmother’s vegetables -
a shed for tools, a place where
mama kept cardboard boxes filled
with dolls, tricycles - hanging above my head.

I remember - cold, and shiver run
up and down my arms – even in summer.
I remember fear, when someone caught
me alone in the storm cellar -
where children never played.

Nancy Duci Denofio
published page 5
Just Another Day

Monday, August 9, 2010



knees diagonal to the ground
mom’s sweater resting on your
back – sweeping near sand
frozen toes protrude scuffed

heartless is the forest in night
color vanishes from the sky
bodies shake with seizure
shivers crawl up your spine
standing – nearer to a source
of light growing brighter

a fireside – smell of wood
faces red as heat multiplies
clutched within tiny hands
a sturdy twig

a stillness – waiting your turn
thoughts captured by flames –
a plastic bag passed along
two fluffy marshmallows
placed on a twig

promptly toasting, eating -
observing the amount left
in the bag - counting to yourself.

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved
a collection of work
published in 1991

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Fourteen Days

Imagine, fourteen days
on a boat with strangers
while sleeping in steerage
drunks tossed overboard
and vomit falling from
the upper bunk.

Grandmother traveled
fourteen days, to see
a women holding a
torch and taste
she traveled alone.

“Train number ten,”
she told me, as she
pulled stripped cookies
from the cookie jar. . .
Her arm’s crossed, and
the elbows of her red
sweater worn.

A sudden sweep of
air entered the kitchen
window, moved her
calendar, swinging
it back and forth – it
hung from a nail on
her pantry door.

Her home made
curtains blew – and
soon when fall arrived
I’d be sitting further
from the window,
away from the radiator -
heat burned your
hand – surprised her
curtains survived. . .

Sitting at grandmother’s
side – I listened as I
pulled from her cookie
jar – strawberry, chocolate,
and vanilla cookies…
“Train number ten,” she
repeated, “people
were sent back, on another
boat,” her hand’s picking
at her sweater as if it were
coated with bugs.
“Bugs, if they found
them on you, or in your
hair – they shipped you
back.” Her head moved
as if to confirm her words -
as if to say yes. ..

She told me her Mama
cried, and her sister
wouldn’t leave the mountains
of Sicily, wheat fields,
geraniums, olive trees -
she didn’t care if she
dragged her clothes
to wash them in the
Square. . .

I’ve watched grandmother
wash clothes, cross legged
on her linoleum floor –
her body bent, her arm’s
scrubbed so hard – then
squeezed them until all
the water was gone.. .

Train number ten was
All she knew, carrying a
Slip of paper, a white
Satchel with personal
Things, like a picture of
Her Mama.

She was meeting her
Papa, he set life up
for her brother’s in
America, and she too
wanted a taste of
freedom. . .
Grandmother smiled,
pinched my cheek. And,
I smiled back – and
remembered her gold
tooth – shined in the
sunlight filtering through
curtains, in her kitchen.

Nancy Duci Denofio