“Hello, I Must Be Going” by Krista Klanderman

Krista Klanderman


When we finally took her cigarettes away
Nana tried to smoke chicken bones, lighting
each gnarled end with matches we forgot to
check her pocket for. “You’re a sweetie” was
her mantra, repeated like her old blue parakeet
she forgot to feed, and it died slowly, like the
smile from her face as she sat in
the blue velour chair, staring out the front window
like she was watching a Garbo movie.
When we came to bring her groceries,
those bags like birthday presents,
she would hike up her sweat pants
like an umpire contemplating a play and
wander to the kitchen, her fingers playing with the
edge of her t-shirt, and peer through
blue eyes, as clean as a slate, as we pulled
cans of fruit cocktail and snack cakes magic-like from
brown paper sacks. She had the looks of Marilyn,
never left the house in any shoes but heels, even
ironed Boompa’s boxers until her mind moved on and
forgot to leave a note. When we came over today
she looked through me like I was a pane of glass. My
face like one she saw once in a magazine ad,
or in the crowd at St. John’s Sunday mass.
She asked me who I was, her voice like the hello you
speak into the phone, distant and hollow like she
was across a lake. The glimmer of recognition in
her face like a dying ember stoked for the last time
before burning out altogether. She put her hands
up to her ashen face, devoid of the makeup she
caked on like Tammy Faye, and felt for her once pretty
eyes, that broke a hundred hearts, as they betrayed
her with tears, splashing down her face, surprising her
like rain on someone else’s cheeks.

from Rattle #27, Summer 2007


Krista Klanderman: “I write because, like artists, I like to create pictures. Since there are more words than colors and I tend to get more paint on me than the canvas, I write poetry. I like how simple connected lines and arcs form letters that make words that can be put together in ways to lift, bend, or enlighten someone’s life. I am a listener, an observer and a thinker. Most of my poetry attempts to capture moments most people forget to notice.”

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