Sharon Waller Knutson
Bio Note: I had a heartbreaking 2021 with losing my son and mother-in-law but I also had a productive year publishing many poems on the internet and two hooks by Kelsay Books, What the Clairvoyant Doesn’t Say and Trials and Tribulations of Sports Bob. These poems are from my manuscript, Survivors, Saints and Sinners which I hope to publish in 2022.
Inga, Phyllis, and Joyce
Like a dandelion gone to seed blown in by the breeze, Inga arrives early and alone, slips in and out. But her name is on the mind of all who attend the 98th birthday party for Phyllis. You’re almost as old as Inga. Inga is the healthiest of us all, says Joyce, who lost her hair and a breast to cancer and her husband to dementia before her 90th birthday just last spring, Inga drove cross country alone to visit grandkids in her nineties. Phyllis rattles off everything she’s lost in the past years, appendix, ovary and fallopian tube, two giant gallstones, gallbladder, parathyroid, two cataracts and a husband, as she stretches swollen and heavy log like legs in her living room hospital bed. Inga has outlived two husbands and she’s still driving and playing the guitar at jams. Joyce laughs as she eats her chocolate cake Two days later, Phyllis sends her son with a birthday card to Inga’s house just a ways down the road. Huge hearts decorate the posts and trees in Inga’s yard. Since her car is gone, she’s at the church, says Phyllis, celebrating her 101th birthday.
There’s a mouse in the house,
says my husband as he shuffles the deck at the kitchen table and a gray rodent sleek as a greyhound races across the kitchen tile and dives under the refrigerator. I saw him nibbling on the granola wrapper she left on the counter, pipes up my mother-in-law as he skates across the carpet and dives under the couch. I can’t find one mouse trap my husband says. Of course not, I always kept a clean house, she says as the mouse skates up the hall on the linoleum. My husband grabs a skillet and races after him. Returns. He escaped into a counter hole. Don’t get blood on my clean towels, she says. I look up home remedies to get rid of mice on my laptop. Cocoa powder. Red Pepper flakes. Left cabinet, top shelf, she says. It’s then I look at the door and see the mouse scampering outside and remember she’s been gone for months.
©2022 Sharon Waller Knutson
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