Spring 2024

Mama Was a Big Band Singer

by Rikki Santer

I was miniature        at her ankles
                    mining the caverns                      of her bottom pantry
                                 economy cans of whole peaches dressed        in A&P labels:
                       voluptuous melba orbs        with bowtie leaves        & backdrops velvety black
                                 all balancing a fat scrapbook stuffed with news clippings        8×10 glossies.

In her kitchen I swayed cross-legged to the lilt        of her show tunes
                                                                                    our family’s pre-dinner overture
                   she nursing a frying pan of sizzling liver        & onions        Luck
                                                  be a lady tonight
       Lyrics my passport
                   to the cosmology        of her heart        I’ll be seeing you
                                                              bright blouses matching a smorgasbord
                            of bejeweled flatties        melodies blooming on her tongue
                                                              Blue skies        smiling at me.

Late into the nights        when she could no longer longhand her words
                            she pecked tender messages        from her script typewriter
                                                              tucked them deep into her cookbooks
                   secret harmonies that surprise        then serenade me        a lifetime later.

Rikki Santer’s poetry has appeared in numerous publications both nationally and abroad including Ms. Magazine, Poetry East,  The Journal of American Poetry, Hotel Amerika, Crab Orchard Review, Grimm, Slipstream and The Main Street Rag.  Her work has received many honors including five Pushcart and three Ohioana book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.Her eighth collection, Drop Jaw, inspired by the art of ventriloquism, was published by NightBallet Press in the spring.  She lives in Columbus, Ohio.  Please contact her through her website: www.rikkisanter.com

Spring 2024