I Knew a Cop by Hannah Vanderhart

Probably not a great cop. He worked undercover for the county for seventeen years. He collected narcotics. When his wife grew angry, she would walk gently through their ranch, stroke the corner of every picture frame until the lines of the house registered a 1.5 on the Richter scale—a microquake. Not enough to break a glass, bow a door frame. Just enough distance from kilter to make you feel not quite on land, but sailing the seas of her domestic wrath. It drove the cop wild. He never knew what bothered him. Late afternoons, the wife sprinkled cornflakes on the chicken breasts, tenderly. She laid them in a casserole. I watched her children when she left the house. She was a mostly good wife, aside from the picture frames, the slants of which sound like an art exhibit. But this was American life. There was a casserole, and children. There was even art. I remember geese on powder blue fields.

Hannah Vanderhart lives and teaches in Durham, NC. She has her MFA from GMU and is currently at Duke University writing her dissertation on gender and collaboration poetics in the seventeenth century. She has poems most recently at UCity Review and forthcoming at Cotton Xenomorph and The McNeese Review. More at: hannahvanderhart.com