Children of the Dark

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children-of-the-dark

Stone houses lean against
a mountainside, between
bushes of red gardenias –
hydrangeas near
lime and lemon trees,
near olive branches –
and wheat fields.

A narrow street –
balconies, and stoops
where town folk gather
in clusters, similar to
all clusters – along
each street in industrial
Americana – but this is
Sicily.

Villagers gather to share
prices of a peddlers cart,
some proud their golden
cross is pinned on the
outside, signifies her son
or husband soon will walk
up the mountain, they will
be home. Though, no one
knows how soon a husband
or son may leave again, to
American – a new world,
left behind.

A gust of wind – a thin layer
of ash from Mount Etna
finds its’ way between
mountains – ash floats –
covering clothes hanging
to dry over an olive tree
branch, over railings, for
a slight wind filters threw
streets in small villages…

Women – pray for spring to
bring heavy rains
Women – pray in June to
keep the rain away – for
it would kill tiny buds
growing on olive trees,
and those Dons’ from
Palermo will fight for their
share of land – harvested
by many.

Women – pray for husbands
to come home, to be happy
in their village filling sacks
with wheat – wheat for a
rich man – a family rents
its’ land – so women pray –
come home, come back
this way. Women do not
trust those men who take
the harvest –

This winter a few flakes of
snow crossed our mountain
top – kissed a palm tree.
For me, I can only write to
you about strange flakes
not ash on stone paths.

In the village, a simple stoop
of stone – where a hen struts
by to enter a home – with an
open door – where a bird of all
colors – like the trees –
flock to hear music on streets.

Homes stand side by
side, deeper – instead of
wide – A simple stoop, where
women compare the price
of an artichoke, stitches
on cotton, wares from a
vender purchased early –
before sunrise.

Pictures of Saints line walls
next to a picture of the
Brooklyn Bridge – I live in
one room, one table at my
side near a crooked chair,
painted white –

Upstairs, what we call a
marriage bed,” is in the
center of the room, near
a stairway – brother to
the left, me to the right.

At the end of a day
purple covers the sea –
a mountain sleeps while
donkeys are tied in stalls –
children dream – some
awake counting stars.

Children – hear prayers from
a neighbors home –
Children – hear cries if a
letter arrives – knowing
someone will never cross
the ocean – will never
make it home – where
women gather – beneath
a tree – where older people
talk – about America…
Children in the dark know.

(c) all rights reserved – Nancy Duci Denofio

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