Mrs. Buckley

is a walking hyacinth
drenched in shades of mauve.
Her pearls are the size of golf balls
and her lavender scent is thick
as bathroom spray.
Her hair, stacked and swirled
into black wasp nests
sits two hives high.

Gnarled knuckles rummage
inside her lilac crochet handbag.
She uncaps lipstick and smears
mulberry frost on lips
thin as spaghetti.
My lips mimic hers.
I smack and stretch
then roll them together
like mother’s wringer washer.

Mrs. Buckley’s plum heels tap in the lunchroom
where children chatter and unwrap
Wonder Bread sandwiches with crusts
lopped off and bleeding
strawberry jam.

My homemade brown bread,
thick as my arithmetic primer,
is freckled with seeds and buttered
with a slice of Hungarian Salami.

Purple pumps click clack over
to ask if she might have a bite
of my lunch. Her glossy fingernails hold
the sandwich like a china tea cup
and her yellow teeth disappear
into whole wheat.

A strand of spit delicate as spider web
holds on and snaps,
lands on her powdered chin.
She leaves me
with a sandwich
wearing lips.

~ Karen Klassen

Karen Klassen is a poet who lives on an acreage in Grasswood, SK. She has had the privilege of attending the Sage Hill Writing Experience and the Banff Center’s ‘Writing with Style’ program. Her work has appeared in Cahoots and Leaf Press, and will be featured in an upcoming episode of CBC’s SoundXchange.

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