squeezing a penny

my mother never knew the names for things
the trees were just trees, the flowers just flowers,
she knew life as a sigh and aspiration as a linchpin,
she could get to work and maneuver in the dark,
she could squeeze a penny too
and force tired feet into worn shoes


© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes;  Photo courtesy of morgueFile


sleeping without walls

the fields that year taught the art of sleeping outside,
sleeping without walls, watching the stars and moon,
our dreams spun from sunsets and morning dew ~
we slept in bedrolls configured from old white sheets and
the khaki wool blankets my uncles took to war, i wondered
about my uncles as i did about many people, many things

and that summer held varied delights, climbing trees,
eating cherries without washing them . . . oh! ~
and there were blueberry bushes and fig trees and
i lined the path to the food hut with odd sunday stones

i said my own prayers while the big girls were at Mass
and marveled at my middle-aged mother’s plump knees
i marked her spirit for wearing bermudas, for joining
children’s games, sitting ’round fires, making ‘smores ~

now I wonder at summer camp morphing into metaphor,
all our lives we did those things: gathering dreams,
mom and me, outsider artists sleeping without walls

© 2013, poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes

houses of silence

they dwelt in houses of silence
chewed through grudging fences
swam in oceans of best intentions
tried to find one another on the
shores of their fears and confusions,
alienation was their warrior shield,
silence, the mom’s default position

their lives were lived in a boxing ring
the fist in the glove was a malignancy
and the mom passed her days sparring,
she thought the winner would be the
woman who was pretty and hushed
even when she got knocked out, she
wearied the charity of her own mother

she became embittered in isolation,
there was no one else she could
beat upon or say her grief to or even
show her bruises and lacerations ~

except for that small child of silence,
useless in matters of this magnitude

© 2012, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved
Illustration ~ color sketch by Jiri Hodan, Public Domain Pictures.net

IMG_2225the echo of her sighs

mom stressed
as she sat
with her 10-key
feeding it numbers
for a business
in Redhook
a commercial building
in old red brick
her calculations spun
Monday through Friday
dripping white paper
in ribbons
pooling on the floor
with all her adds
all her minuses
she accounted
in gray led
on lined green paper
A/R and A/P
chart of accounts
bank reconciliations
consolidated financials
neatly ticked and tied
to ledgers and subledgers
hand formulated
amounting to
for the echo of her sighs

© 2015, poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes

Jamie’s THE WORDPLAY SHOP: books, tools and supplies for poets, writers and readers



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