DTM (March 9,1957 / New York City)

The Last Time We All Saw Nannie In Gerritsen Beach

Great Grandmother’s house
sat at the foot of a pier.
Her front yard was a bulkhead.

In the near distance,
the ribbon of madness
called The Belt Parkway
girdled the great belly of Brooklyn.

Nannie was there with Aunt Dot,
grown permanently crabby from
living a long life with her mother.

Nannie sat fixed in her chair,
hair deep white, and far too old
to bother standing to greet.
Who knew her name was Sadie,
short for Sarah, her own mother’s name?

Richard lived alone downstairs,
in the basement apartment.
He had once belonged to someone,
but now he was not right.
We only knew him as Cousin Richard,
who lived his life downstairs,
hanging onto his circumstances
by only a thread.

Aunt Dot made us tea and
offered simple cookies from a box,
happy to see her little sister, or not.

We didn’t stay long,
even with the thought
that they would all be dead
before another day like this.

We lived by my Grandfather’s clock,
he never forgetting that
to Dot and to Nannie, he would
always be that Miserable Guinea Bum,
who had married my Grandmother.

They say The Lovejoys were once
colonial aristocrats in Maine,
with land and with treasure
enough for a kingdom.

Now it was just Nannie,
in her chair by a bulkhead
in Gerritsen Beach, preparing
her next complaint for Aunt Dot.

Before her, jammed into
her tiny front room, overlooking
a hundred yards of oily water,
three generations
of people she had spawned and
that Miserable Guinea Bastard,
hand in his pocket and
jingling his keys.

2008 Daniel Thomas Moran

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Comments (1)

Daniel, a rare piece of magic...we need more like this.10/10 Ian