Saturday, June 8, 2013

In Memory of Our Beloved Cousin Marie

Marie Gioia and me

For Marie Gioia
Marie is 86 now—
She’s been retired a long time
living in a tiny apartment
on the fifth floor
of Governor Paterson Towers
with its big window
overlooking the city
and its bitty kitchen
designed for preparing
simple meals
for one
No microwave
no Kitchen-Aide
no state-of-the-art
this and that
created to simplify
mundane kitchen chores
Marie has fibromyalgia
and lives with constant pain—
She rises, attaches electrodes
from her home tens unit
to her aching body
and hopes the stimulation
will provide sufficient relief
to help her face the day
She heads to the market
the doctor or church
A bit of her monthly check
is carefully set aside
for flour and sugar
from Shop-Rite
or red bell peppers
or artichokes
from the market
on Railroad Avenue
(when they’re on sale)
Marie fire roasts
the peppers over a burner
stuffs and slowly simmers
the bulging artichokes
chops, minces and mixes
a bowl of batter
with a wooden spoon
and prepares loaves
for the oven
She gets herself dressed
fixes her hair
puts on a little lipstick
and rouge
a necklace and earrings
and a hat,
her signature stylish hat—
and out she goes
carrying a little jar
of garlicky peppers to my house
or a rustic corn bread
to Carol or Ana or a neighbor
or she brings her famous
cranberry pumpkin loaf
to her pastor
or the man who services her old Ford
or her dentist, ophthalmologist
or the chiropractor
she’s been going to
for years, who recently
reduced his fee
There are always
a few containers
of homemade soup
in her freezer
which she delivers
to the sick
or someone who
just seems to need
a simple offering
from her kitchen
Maude Carolan Pych
Cousin Marie passed away this afternoon at the age of 89. She was a dearly loved member of our family. My prayer is that she is in the loving arms of Our Savior, enjoying the beginning of eternal life with Him in a beautiful, wonderful place.
This poem won an Editor's Choice Award in the national Allen Ginsberg contest and was published in "The Paterson Literary Review".



  1. Beautiful poem Maude. So captured your aunt I feel like I knew her. I'm sorry for your loss. May it be heaven's gain.

  2. She was indeed a special lady. I have a treasure trove of sweet memories. Thanks for your comment, Susan.