Tag Archives: #WithoutShoes


[*Note: The use of the adjective “sudden” appears without prior knowledge of its similar use in a published poem by my friend, Anna Rose Welch] 10/14/15

A rainbow of sequins shoots across the grey landscape of split-levels, flats, and bungalows.

Too early in the season for fireflies. Just another evening in spring for most everyone….maybe a movie at home, some goodies, a game.



Tonight is Prom.

And, the empty streets are budding.

Sudden boys in stiff tuxes, girls balancing on stilettos at the edges of tired sidewalks, leaning in for the anxious lens of a wistful parent.

Then, off.  Off to the blooming banquet ballroom, spongy carpet waiting to test the heels, brocaded corners settling in for the clusters of nervous children staring dolefully toward the dance floor.

Regal table rounds, draped with welcoming linens, ready to class the cliques and comfort the outcasts and soothe the swollen feet.

Noisy chattering over the relief of electronic sound emanating from the bandstand, not hearing anything intelligible, not caring. Laughing, just because.

Eyes glistening over icing on tiny cakes, licking fingers. Furtive glances across the chasm at the king and queen’s court, wondering how many minutes before all the chairs are empty. More chatter. More indefinability.

Photos, all. Phones, and photos. Poses, as many as Barbie and Ken could configure on the playroom floor. More songs from the band. Favorite songs. More looks from the DJ, waiting his turn.

Caravans of organza, tulle, crepe chiffon, and faux satin lumbering to the lavatory, clutching palm purses concealing tampons. Tinted mirrors, tugging bodices, mascara wands tracing eyelash tips.

One magnificent Conga line finale, led by the beloved gym teacher everybody knows is gay. No quibbling. No worries. True gaiety.

Trouping to the carpool, hormones at full tilt, sailing up the curb drive into the all-night restaurant. The grand, self-possessed entrance of a wandering circus act.

Mounds of fries and bacon and whipped creme.

Minds, winding down; bodies, wearing thin.

Hearts, hopeful.

Time, gathering its notes for the remembrance book.







© Ruth Ann Scanzillo

5/16/15  All rights reserved. Prom away.


The Scent of Nickel.

The freight train is moving east across 15th.

Its warning horn blends with the breeze in the newly leafing trees, and a scent wafts through that spins me into the deep past.

We are in the late 1960’s. I am a child. It is Dad’s day off from the barbershop, where he works cutting hair; Mum is outside, on her knees, putting in the red geraniums along the walkway leading to the front porch.

The black DeSoto is parked by the telephone pole. I scramble in, and Dad takes me with him down Parade Street, windows wide open. We stop at the tracks at 15th, to wait for the train. I look across at the feed store, and inhale deeply the mixture of grain, soil and soot. The sound of the train, the smell, the look. I watch each car fly by. When the caboose disappears, the sun brightens ahead of us through the windshield. We cross the tracks, and move on.

Coasting further down to 5th, we turn right one block to get to the shop. He’s whistling.

Unlocking the front storm door, Dad lets me scamper in ahead. The old cigar ashes fill the air. He flicks on the black and white cabinet Tv, gathers his broom and dustpan, and begins to sweep the floor of cut hair residue. I sit on the bouncy vinyl chair cushion and run my hands along the smoothe, tubular, nickel plated arm rests. I look at the tall pedestal ash trays, filled with grey mounds the size of cremated remains.

Worn magazines are piled on the small tables, Sports Illustrated, Mechanics Illustrated, men’s magazines, the pages all slippery, the pictures all black and angular and strange. I look for the pretty girl in the bathing suit.

The faces on the Tv are talking. Their voices have a buzz in them, not like people sound in real life. I watch my father sweep the floor, swinging my legs over the side of the puffy vinyl chair.

He’s all done. Walking past me into the back room, he gathers all the soiled towels to take home for Mum to wash. I run back quickly to use the rusty toilet. I smell the must, and stare around at the manly grunge.

We head back up Wallace, then over to Ash. We pass Peterman’s Market, the old Russian church. We turn right at Ash, and head up the slight hill under the overpass. The train is long gone, but we can still smell it. Dad toots his car horn under the pass, and the sound is loud and grande. We both laugh. The sun is still bright as we pass the Polish Falcons and then the corner store.

Soon, we are home. Mum looks up and smiles as we pull in the drive. Dad gets out of the car and walks up to her, jingling the change in his pants pocket.

There will be rigatonis for supper.


The freight continues its trek east toward the New York State line, moaning its horn the whole way. And, I inhale again, reaching from down in the pockets of my lungs for that last remnant of the scent of nickel.







.© Ruth Ann Scanzillo

5/12/15  All rights reserved. Thank you for the daytrip.