Gless Avenue, Belleville, N.J.
We lived the cliché: Grandma downstairs
without a word of English;
Children frightened by the needle
she proffered and the thread;
And by the big old woman, herself
whose strange breath and odd teeth
and white-yellow hair
framed her large nose and haggard face;
She cornered the little girls – my sister
and two cousins on the stairs
as they tried to pass by in play,
talking in a gibberish tongue
thrusting a needle at their eye
as a thread danced in the breeze,
a kite tail without its cross ties,
held tightly in the swollen,
battered, stuttering old hand.
What she wanted must be so obvious.
- By Anthony Buccino
From SIXTEEN INCHES ON CENTER
From AMERICAN BOY: Pushing Sixty
Copyright © 2010 by Anthony Buccino, all rights reserved.