June Cleaver Nails

There are days when the only way I make it
is to put on a dress, pearls
and step out into the world
like I have it all together, like every mascaraed eyelash
is in place, like if someone walked into my house
they would see perfectly parallel vacuum lines.
My short manicured nails, cultured cuticles
and subdued pink polish
won’t poke holes
in yellow dish gloves so necessary to maintaining
beautiful hands. I can walk through the day like that,
one Dior doused red herring of a woman.

No one needs to know
that every day I pull the oars of a rowboat
stalled in a life, an illusion of a wife,
the woman who hasn’t known
the funk of her husband for years and
never will again.
Prestidigitator of perfection to the outside
world drowning in a rain of lies.

No one needs to know
that my short nail manicure is a school—
ten red herrings,
ten reasons other than yellow rubber gloves
to keep my nails blunt and beautiful.
Ten reasons that smell like her,
that know the satin of a different glove.


Von Thompson is a wife, mother, and graduate of the Solstice MFA at Pine Manor College. She currently facilitates the Duvall Poetry Series and is also an ad hoc board member of the Redmond Association of Spokenword. In her non-poetry time, she is a corporate trainer. Von lives in the beautiful Sky Valley with her wife, children, and the Tribulation of Tabbies. She believes in the power of words, sunshine, and really good soup.

Photo by Martin Sattler.

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