The Innisfree Poetry Journal
www.innisfreepoetry.org

by Amanda Halkiotis


VILLAGE VILLANELLE

I look forward to reentry,
know these back roads like a creed.
I hope I donít look too New York City.

The mailbox still looks rusty.
It wears a coat of dandelion seed.
New England lives in its own century.

Without asking Mom begins my laundry.
I remind her drying directions for the tweed.
I hope I donít look too New York City.

I miss the musty scenery
and the lack of West Side greed.
New England lives in its own century.

I drive through a forest to the grocery,
thinking as she rings up the ingredients I need,
I hope I donít look too New York City.

Two days too soon I hear the workweek heed,
wait in Brewster to begin my homeward journey.
I hope I donít look too New York City.
New England lives in its own century.


THE DAY BEFORE MY GRANDMOTHER'S FUNERAL

I drink my third thick-as-tar Maxwell House
alone at the table where she used to tell me
childhood stories of Spartila, Theo Adam kai Theo Alekos.
She had a third brother whom nobody speaks of.
He died at a young age from eating mud.
Her empty oxygen tank rolls between my shambling feet.
I wish the motion made a louder noise.
I can hear her daughters through the ceiling
arguing over which dress, the green or the pink,
should be found inside the insisted-upon
open casket.
My grandfather walks in, hands me a recipe he found
online for Shrimp Creole. I rifle through the Lazy Susan
next to the refrigerator, knowing I wonít find half the spices
she would have used in the sauce. My grandfather adds to the cover-up
clatter as their voices rise, pulling a Semolina loaf out of the freezer.
It wonít be defrosted in time.
My mother gives up; Aunt Vicky brandishes the
emerald relic in her arms as she walks down the stairs
and lays it on the orange velour couch in the parlor.
Without asking my grandfather pours me half his Heineken
and sits it to the right of his chair at the head,
where she used to sit. I go around the table
lining up the cutlery with the arms of the chairs.
She taught me how to wear a diamond and lead a dance.
She told me once while rinsing green beans over the sink
a good meal can make everything else okay.


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