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Two Poems by Donna Kaz

Dad and Woolworth’s

When I dream about my father he is always dressed for work

in the dark green shirt and pants that my mother bought for him at Woolworth’s.

 

With her big beige plastic pocket book oozing green stamps and clipped coupons

my mother would park the Plymouth at the A & P next door,

 

march across the street into the side entrance, stroll through the center section,

then hunker down somewhere between the underwear and penny candy,

 

while I roamed freely through aisles I knew as well as the sales girls

their contents my growth chart marking the passage from

 

three compartment change purses, to Tangee frosted lip gloss,

to sparkling blue bottles of “Evening In Paris” cologne.

 

The lunch counter always the last stop, my sister and I

swirled around on cherry red stools, ate grilled cheese sandwiches,

 

drank cokes in curved glasses with lots of chipped ice,

watched my mother drink black coffee and chat with the counter lady.

 

I never knew exactly what my father did when he left for work every morning

a pencil and something that looked like a thermometer in his front left hand pocket.

 

Whenever I had to fill out some form for school

“Just put plumber” was always his reply.

 

All I was certain of was that he worked some place

that required him to wear dark green work shirts and matching pants

 

from a store where I never got in trouble for touching everything

and nothing came wrapped in plastic bags.

Flinching Forward

You were sweet all over,

my riskiest option

to remove the training wheels,

let you too near the stove,

forget that the small parts of some toys

can be swallowed.

 

You will never have to learn

the harder things:

to always give yourself

ten minutes more than you need;

the five simple tricks

for remembering someone’s name;

the last four digits

of your social security number.

 

You lunged at life without

a single clenched experience,

so when the man

with the hard kicking gun entered

you were relaxed,

your toothless grin

and curious mind

lay open,

your palms flat, facing up

towards the ceiling,

still sticky from a sugary breakfast

of Cheerios and grape jelly

ready to receive the last lessons.

 

I am left to navigate

the tiny world of tragedy

you escaped from.

I have learned that gone can be forgotten

if only emptiness wasn’t forever,

if only.

Donna Kaz is a multi-genre writer who grew up in Glen Cove and is now based in New York City. She recently had a memoir published - “UN/MASKED, Memoirs of a Guerrilla Girl On Tour’ (Skyhorse 2016). Donna is currently a columnist for The Clyde Fitch Report and have written for MS. Magazine, Trivia: Voices of Feminism, The Dramatist, Ful Art magazine, Girl Drive Blog, Lilith, The Sun, Gender Across Borders, Women in Hollywood and Step Away Magazine (Pushcart prize nomination).

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