Above The World


One morning on my way to school,

I reached on tip toes toward a ledge
below the window where Mama kept
her orange pills – the window faced
Seneca Street – Mama always watched
when I ran across the market lot to
fetch the correct tuna or the right
American bread – she stared until I
crossed Seneca Street, holding what
she told me to buy at the big market.

Don’t know why I took her bottle of
orange pills early on a school day,
to shove into my pocket of a freshly
starched dress, pink with flowers.

Behind Grandmother’s bushes near
red beans where I made mud pies, I
removed the top – it popped right off.
All those orange pills stared at me,
as if they had every like all those people
in our neighborhood.

First, I glanced to the upstairs window
making sure Grandmother was still
praying on her knees – so I chew one –
chewed it – then I chew another, and

I left the bushes and began my walk to
school, first past Charlie’s Grocery
store; everyone said it will close soon
because of the big market.  But old
Charlie was sitting in his rocker still
chewing on his cigar – he pretended he
never saw me.

My walk down Avenue A toward my
school only one block but filled with
Mamas who never worked, that’s when
I noticed one pounded her rug with
a broom on the upper porch.  I pretended
I didn’t see her, turned to hide behind
the old oak trees which once lined
streets here in our neighborhood
Mama’s friend never looked my way –
as I peeked around the tree chewing
one more orange pill, and then another
and another.

I took another orange pill from the jar,
and chewed it – glancing back toward
the lady pounding the rug, she looked
funny, kind of blurred, kind of foggy.

Into the pocket of the pink flowered
dress, I shoved Mama’s pills.  I knew
it was time to be in school.

You see, I thought I took enough
to live.

“Twinkle – Twinkle Little Star”

Humming the song to myself, leaning
my head against the push out window
of our Studebaker,

“How I wonder what you are?”

I began to draw stick figures as if they
were me, drawing fast and rubbing it
drawing and rubbing it, over and over
rubbing it until it was clean – breathing
rubbing – breathing harder – rubbing
of our Studebaker – rubbing it clean –
breathing – rubbing – breathing – rubbing
and drawing, erasing it – exhaling,
breathing, drawing, and erasing it

“Up above the world so high”

I believe it was my first time to fly.

  1. Avatar of Carole Kenyon
    Carole Kenyon says

    This is a beautifully written piece that drew me in and along…Loved it!

    1. Avatar of Nancy Duci Denofio
      Nancy Duci Denofio says

      Carole the world is in front of us as you know, and every inch can be a spec of time a twist of the wind, a lift of a leaf, and a tiny tree, its’ branch falling toward the ground. As people, everything has a purpose as the song goes, “under heaven.” And that is where we come in as writers. Thanks for the compliments. with love, Nancy

    2. Avatar of Nancy Duci Denofio
      Nancy Duci Denofio says

      Thanks Carole, it was really a part of life growing up at that time. You never knew the difference and parents weren’t aware of what they are today. Thanks again, always, Nancy

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