When they said her boy couldn’t graduate from their school, she lifted
all the dirt from Mayor Turner’s garden and showered
it down, letting a new pitcher’s mound form
on the field at the Mill Street park, whose budget
the money for that dirt had come from in the first place.
They said his hair was too long, said he needed
a shave and some clean clothes too, so she listed
why the Mayor always kept himself so smart,
all the women from Opal Schutts to Vonda Dixson.
She let the names recite themselves each night
in the ear of his missus while she snored fitfully
in her thick cold cream mask and curlers.
He said her boy’d give the kids bad ideas,
said riffraff, hoodlum, river rat,
so she looked him in the eye until his nose
grew long and his cheeks rounded,
until his claws scuffed the polished floors
of City Hall and Vonda would have nothing at all
to do with his whiskered face and little rat pecker.
Jennifer Schomburg Kanke
Jennifer Schomburg Kanke is originally from Columbus, Ohio and currently lives in Tallahassee, Florida where she edits confidential documents for the government, which is not as interesting as it sounds. Previously the reviews editor for Pleiades, she currently serves as a reader for Emrys. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Court Green, and Nimrod.
Artwork: Rob Woodcox