Mother – today near our yellow
garage I leaned against old
yellow chipped paint, and
instead of flicking paint with
my finger – I stared at our old
crying as if rain coated fur
coats – pears strewn about
the lawn – ants and worms
no one saving bruised fruit
or has time to cut away a
rotten spot – as Grandma.
Are you with me Grandma?
You remember Grandma
took care of bruised fruit –
tossed scraps from her second
floor window – of our city flat,
to feed blackbirds.
Those maple trees – you have to
Growing back home, in your home
town – “Middle,” Mother said –
always, Mother said, “Middle,”
not Middle Granville its’ name –
a place near the Vermont border –
Mother – you were proud of those
maple trees – crying like pears on
my lawn, in my home town – proud
when you pointed to thin tin
buckets – buckets attached to
mighty strong trunks –
tin buckets filled with maple syrup –
Mother, I know you can see me.
I bet all those trees with buckets
were glad to see you when you
finally came home? I cried when you
left our home.
You told me you climbed those mighty
limbs of the maple –
you tied tin to their trunks –
you would hide beneath a single tree
as if a piece of scorned fruit –
well, you did have far too many
siblings to hide from.
Mother, you are not there – on the crest
gazing over rusted train tracks – tracks
twisting around raised stones – tracks
near your brother’s bar – you’re not
laying near trees crying into buckets
or hiding from your siblings –
You see mother – now you can fly
yet, resting in peace – never your
style – I do enjoy you listening when I
talk out loud – you see – I know you
are right here! You told me so.
Remember, “I’ll haunt you till the
day you die,” Mother, and you laughed –
I believe you protect us – our entire
Remember when you turned all the
fans on, and tears ran down our wall –
when pencils were tossed – pictures
fell – and now you’re moving glasses.
I know you hear me – you hear me when
I talk. Even my husband, he believes
since you touched his face. I’m
Mother, you are watching me –
You see me, hear me, listen to all
of my wishes, stories, and see my tears.
And you answer in your own Irish way –
we believe you.
That day we placed a wreath at your
grave – knee deep in snow, we noticed
snow inside tin buckets –
Did you notice too?
We talked about the other side, you
told me about my birth – and all those
dead people coming back – I knew
everything by heart. So we talked as
I grew – and I believed – we talked
when you were dying, and I believed
You’re right here watching me as I
But why not touch my face?
Mother, you can fly over our pear
tree and watch scraps of food fed
to black birds, touch faces in
the night – guide us in daylight.
So fly Mother, fly near the border
where slate resembles slabs of
fudge – where rocks fall into streams,
where maples do cry into buckets,
and your talking with all your friends
now – resting on the crest.
Fly – Fly – guide us all with your
Nancy Duci Denofio
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