The Sidewalk Remembers

It is spring,
but the cold sidewalk remebers
its icy white covering.

The sidewalk remembers the seasons, fondly,
as they crack and crumble its surface.
Tiny fault lines, the little cracks,
separate the sentimental sidewalk.

The sidewalk remembers generations,
the scrape of snow shovels,
hopscotch boards, dogs,
water gun fights that give way
to trick or treats.

In the autumn
the sidewalk is warm
from the vanishing summer.

The sidewalk remembers young lovers,
holding hands at the roadside.
Their passions running as hot and cold,
as the temperatures
the sidewalk remembers.

Nichole M. Dulin
original 1996, revised 2016

Cascade

Yesterday, while I stood in my kitchen,
deeply inhaling the steam
from the just-opened dishwasher,
that had, somehow,
transported me
into my grandmother’s kitchen,
I stared into the racks, breathing.
While my mind conjured the yellow tiles,
rock-patterned linoleum,
white metal cabinets,
and apricot preserves,
on a fresh Irish scone.

And in that moment,
I wondered. Somewhere,
in the whatever is Beyond,
was my grandmother also transported
on that blast of steam,
into my kitchen?

Could she smell the roast I made?
Could she see that we painted the kitchen yellow?
Did she notice her plate on the wall?

Nichole M. Dulin

The Train

Train brakes
echo
in a river-run circle
around my world.

Do you hear the train?
Does it wake you as it sweeps
­.. its coal-filled path
…. around the Mon?

…… 49 cars
……….to each
………… engine

Had you noticed?

The ever-present Conrail symbol
.. smiles at me

…. 50 times,
…… 100 times,
………. or more.

Then, at night,
when the train rumbles
through a thick valley fog,
.. do you watch for the train
…. that you can only hear?

Nichole M. Dulin
1995

Anna’s gone

image

I brought her jellybeans. They’re low in sodium and she liked them, though God knows why. I could never stand them myself.

I had driven there alone. I didn’t want to go, but it was Mother’s Day and I had made a promise. It was hard to find; down winding roads between old colonials, cemeteries, and churches. It was in town, but tucked behind some historic building that was now a law office. The grass was long. It was a wet spring. I guess I knew the grass grew fast, but I felt it as a bad omen. What other care was slipping through the cracks? Continue reading

Alma Mater

I brush my hand across the cinder blocks,
Across the table tops, filing cabinets, and locks.
Searching for a piece of my old reality.
As if the walls still hold a piece of me.
As if they remember me and love me a little.
As though time did not make pages brittle.
I breath the air searching for smoke, wax, developer, newsprint,
The stale memory of each countless midnight hour stint,
A hint that I left anything lasting here in this space.
I didn’t.

There’s nothing familiar here to reminisce about.
I’ve been painted over, knocked down, and moved out.
Walking out I stop in at the bookstore.
I’m still searching but I don’t know what for.
I buy some mementos. Ornament. Decal. Clothes.
The lasting impression was on me. As it should be, I suppose.

Nichole M. Dulin

pica

Monongahela

A man going about his day sweeps the length of the barge.
Pushing the coal dust back into piles.
Keeping the walkway safe and quietly moving up the river.
I’m happy to see him here.
He’s a constant in a world that has changed so much since it belonged to me.
In my mind he will be here always pushing the broom,
Sweeping my memories back into place forever.

Nichole M. Dulin

barge

Recurve

Does the bowstring remember each arrow?
Comfortably slipped into the nock
Gently rested in place
Tenderly drawn back into the past
And then violently shocked forward
When it is taught, does it learn the subtle distinctions of the fletch?
Once loose, does the bowstring feel the paradox?
Does it know if it missed?
With each release, is it stronger or more frail?
Does it mourn?
Does it look for the lost friend, lost child, lost love?
Does it accept the next from the quiver with anticipation?

Nichole M. Dulin