PoetryIssue 20 | May 2014

Two poems by Kim Suttell

My Shoes Betray Me

I wear a plainly embroidered blouse.
The skirt I bought at the tram-stop newsstand.

I bought shampoo there, too.
The bag for peppers

is the same one they all use.
I paid five stotinki.

And my first-world status
doesn’t extend for me

the limited choice of cheese.
I share a layer of coal soot

with everyone else,
men with coffee, stray dogs.

The half-assembled cityscape
crumbles under construction.

in no aspect is newness
or selection apparent

except in my shoes.  I think
if I stay mute I might be part

of what is not noticed—
absent plaster, missing banisters,

pilfered grates, and effort.
In my life, I will never

have to try so hard.
The dull curry-curdle color

painting every other structure
pains to be sunny.

The café strains for comfort
with two menu items.

Little girls bear up
under assiduous ribbons.

I wear easiness not washed out
even in the same caustic detergent.

 1 2 >

About the author

Kim Suttell, born in California, has crisscrossed the USA many times and landed in New York City. She is a returned Peace Corps volunteer and makes regular visits back to Central and Eastern Europe. She has published in The Cortland Review, Geist, and Right Hand Pointing. You can see more of her work here.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok