Monday Poem

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Black Sunday Shoes
Jim Culleny

Grandpa was stiff and stark
as the handle of an old world hoe
but grandmother must have had her dreams
……………………..
At a window in a stuffed chair she sat
fingering a rosary gazing down Roessler murmuring
Hail Mary’s through the pane
bead by bead
……………………..
At other times in that chair
she stroked her long greyblack hair
……………………..
with a stiff brush then rolled and pinned it
into a persistent bun
……………………..
as sun streamed through the top sash
through laddered blinds
……………………..
and stroked the red rug with light
well into the room
……………………..
A clock ticked somewhere
a door slammed.
……………………..
She boiled chicken
served tea with milk and
called me
Jeemy in sentences
loaded and laced with Slovak
so my green ears tasted the sounds
of the foothills of the high Tatras of the Carpathians
as if they were dining on poems in Matiasovce
or Staraves.
……………………..
In her kitchen a crumb-haloed
babka loaf next to a knife on a plate
sat upon a brown enamel table
laid out like a detail in a peasant tableau

painted by a Slovak Van Gogh
……………………..
She placed her plump hand on mine
my small palm lying still
a five-spoked hummock on a mesa

……………………..
~ ~ ~
……………………..
In the plush back seat of Matkovsky’s
two-ton Chrysler returning from mass
on wide whitewalls rolling
in the time before seatbelts
in the time before TV
in the days before e-Babel
in the days before stillness disappeared
she leaned forward in the seat
her ample cantilievered bosom
secured by straps and clips
buried beneath a modest sequined bodice
one hand gripping the loop over the door
peering through another window
which opened upon scenes passing
of another of her dreams which
(perhaps)
she lived in real time in her new world
having long shaken the dust of childhood

and Slovakia from her high-topped
stout-heeled
……………………..
black
Sunday
shoes
……………………..

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