Intermission: Kathleen

Intermission by Edward Hopper, 1963


Kathleen tried to keep her focus on the too-tight shoes she wore, specifically for the distraction they afforded. The clerk had asked her to be seated while he assessed her paper work- a whole cache of documents Frank had instructed her to take in. There had been one other customer ahead of her, but he made quite a scene, hurling expletives at the clerk and threatening to choke him by his tie through the small gap in the perspex that divided the waiting area and the clerk’s booth. The man was escorted into the side room through the door just to the left of Kathleen. She could still hear the man, though now in muffled tones that were hard to decipher.

Two weeks had passed since that foggy Sunday morning when Frank took his small boat with the two-stroke engine out on the lake for a spot of fishing. Kathleen raised the alarm when he wasn’t home by 7 pm that evening – unusual for him as the game was on, and tea was to be served. For the next 12 hours, until daybreak on the Monday, a search party was out looking for him. His boat wasn’t found, and it was safely assumed that he had died, leaving Kathleen a widow. She’d arranged the memorial service with Hanson & Sons Funerals, the same entrepreneurial family who operated the insurance company Hanson Merchant Insurance Co. where she now sat waiting for her claim of Frank’s life insurance to be processed. Ever since she’d moved to Pine Creek from L.A when she married Frank, it had bothered her that there weren’t enough degrees of separation in the town, but it was where Frank had spent his formative years, and he was keen to return to the sleepy fishing town. The chief constable of police who had led the search for Frank was also a Hanson. Continue reading

Me, Peaches & Sally

The Gleaners, by Jean-François Millet, 1857


The supermarket backed onto an ally

Where I would meet Peaches and Sally

We’d forage for a meal

Damaged goods sans protective seal

What would Millet make of our glean?

Would he photograph the scene?

Upload it as gritty commentary

And go viral while remaining sedentary

It may cause uproar at the inequality

We’d have a hashtag titled #grittyreality

But the next big thing would come along

And interest in us would sing its swan song


Poetry inspired by Jean-François Millet’s The Gleaners