local_library Mrs. Klute

by Shann Palmer

Published in Issue No. 174 ~ November, 2011

The pilot’s cigarette slender German wife

begins each day alone with several cups

of thick chicory coffee and a pulp paperback.


In the new space-race subdivision, streets

edge vacant lots and dead-end driveway aprons,

the fresh made curbs go nowhere, yet,


her brick house is full of where she’s been:

big beer steins, splashy Hungarian pottery,

figurines of perfect children like her two,


blond pigtails bowed at the ends, maryjanes

tightly buckled by her firm hand, their lips

gespitz, ready to croon some ancient song.


The local moms, plump from white flour gravy

and batter biscuits, hate her without reason

watching as she scrubs her sidewalks clean


on Tuesdays, you hear them click their tongues

at such unrequited effort here in Pasadena,

where gulf rains come every other day.


When she goes to the commissary, I babysit

for fifty cents an hour, and snoop in every drawer,

put my whole face into her fragrant silky things.


My mother asks a thousand questions, but I lie,

preferring to keep her to myself, the woody

scent of Hermes Caleche, the delicate lace.

account_box More About

Shann Palmer is a Texan living in Richmond, Virginia. She hosts readings, workshops, and open mikes in Central Virginia. Published in print and on the web her recent work appears in Short, Fast, and Deadly, Lingerpost, and Redheaded Stepchild. Poems are forthcoming in Poetry South, Qaartsiluni, and the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. http://shannpalmer.blogspot.com