Heather Palmer

Where did I put that? Head dipped in the freezer eyes clear green on frozen food Oh, there it is Blueberries dropped in oatmeal she scoops a spoonful arranges frozen peas Papa’s peas over smoked ham on Sunday’s The lady before Darlene counts six pennies one drops Ernie picks it up Darlene smiles at the boy mouth of lost teeth he could use bubble gum hands him a quarter and gumball slides from machine to plump hand Fishing the only thing trout understand Uncle always grills pink and Shelley picks the bones Since a root canal and tonsillitis Lucy’s mouth’s sensitive to meat Shelley inspects every bite knifes the pieces gives Uncle the look I wish you wouldn’t fish the bonier fish I knew you would leave me the night on the sofa couch cushions too soft You’re love of pillows it’s the frills and the satin propped side of the couch a book against soft couch got me reading you asleep I stayed soft cushions until woke you fluffed the pillow waited for me to move Cows sit on grass mid morning the rain rains early afternoon Tuck forgets his umbrella in the car and Marcy never carries umbrellas reminds her of knives protection for the future she refuses Window shops she passes Tuck doesn’t see the man who stares Marcy she points to distraction that blue blouse take Tuck’s attention off the rain about to pour the man keeps staring no protection Mae Lucy Anne a long name in her pockets round stones she’s in love with Amelie walks around a woman undercover until ha-ha she trips on the curb this isn’t French she reads Simone Weil on her way to piano lessons pocket-stones clicking tells people her name is Amelie cause Mae Lucy Anne doesn’t sound French Under gutter my chapstick drops and Dad’s pocketknife picks I’ll just get you another one he grumbles over homeless man’s blown trumpet Dad rescues the stick opens lid Eww I don’t want that Dad doesn’t like brass but admires trumpet in homeless hand my chapstick in his hand Last course cake Ashlea’s wedding into Ben and it’s vanilla and chocolate and sprinkled and fluffy but some people don’t eat cake Roger wears red sunglasses to pick red Swedish fish one two three four five five pennies for five fish his red sunglasses slide down nose but hide eyes the cashier can’t count anything but the change Roger wears red sunglasses hikes the uphill to Subway orders chocolate chip cookie than oatmeal cookie than changes his mind doesn’t pay for cookie but offers Swedish fish red sunglasses high on the nose the cashier eats the fish lets the cookies with Roger Use Round Trip for curly hair lock the curls to scalp Kelly dips hair over head The George Washington she calls it I thought we were over this conversation to her sister while pumps Round Trip into curls her sister wishes for the red the curls We’re not where’s my Polly Pocket? Kelly’s finished Round Trip I didn’t take it Sister steals Kelly’s pump rubs into straight hair doesn’t curl Stevie’s baby sucks milk from the breast still at two Joanie complains but Stevie good mother says bottles have nipples too no difference Joanie read Freud but Stevie reads poker faces vows never her son has one My baby likes real milk Joanie shrugs Suit yourself Stevie reveals her breast people stare her two year-old sucking nipple Brian little boy plays double-dutch like the best of the black girls he whoops um good offers skittles from color- melted palms Black hands down the colors laugh at his speech his bones his mother’s dinner call Brian giggles home hungry and full Dawn to Michael needs too much he can’t answer Roll from bed never sleeps alarm clock morning is morning Dawn hears shower hopes water douses doubt she’ll cook him toast omelet he like no cheese and not to ask and she talks TV, Christmas cards Oh, by the way, where did you put the remote, baby?

Heather Palmer writes the thoughts that run. She studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the MFA writing program, and has published current or forth-coming work in Elimae, No Posit, Unlikely Stories, Lark Magazine, Fiction at Work, Storyglossia. Lamination Colony, and most recently, Omphalos. She loves Domori chocolate.