Knute Skinner
The Other Shoe

Pavement Saw Press Chapbook Series
Winner of the Chapbook Award
ISBN 1-886350-99-X
32 pages, 5.5 by 8.5, 2005
Price: $6.00


Knute Skinner was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and grew up in nearby Webster Groves. He attended college at Culver-Stockton and at the University of Northern Colorado, where he received a BA in speech and drama. He then did graduate work at Middlebury College and at the University of Iowa, where he was also an instructor in the English Department.

After receiving a PhD in English, Skinner turned his back on job offers, left Iowa, and headed off to spend the rest of his life on the Canary Islands. Instead, after two years traveling around Europe, he purchased a cottage in rural Ireland. There, when not writing poems, he worked in a turf bog and grew vegetables for the local market. He also began teaching a part of each year in the US, at Western Washington University. In 2000 he retired from teaching and now, along with his spouse, Edna Faye Kiel, is resident year round in Killaspuglonane, County Clare.

Skinner has published fifteen previous collections, the most recent of which is Stretches, from Salmon Publishing.

Some of these poems have been published in the following: Ambit, Cyphers, Denver Quarterly, Descant, Event, Famous Reporter, Going Down Swinging, Harpur Palate, Imago, Indigenous Fiction, Mushroom Dreams, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry NZ, The Prairie Journal, Quadrant Magazine, The Shop: A Magazine of Poetry, Smiths Knoll, Staple, The Sewanee Review, Viewpoints, Wildeside Literary Magazine and Windsor Review as well as reprinted in the Anthology of Magazine Verse & Yearbook of American Poetry (Monitor Book Company, 1997).

A Suitable Guest

"What's wrong with them?" I asked.

"Wrong? Nothing's wrong with them," he answered,
lifting his cup.

"But you've given them all to me," I said,
setting down my fork.
"Why aren't you having any?"

He emptied his cup, hot as it was,
and he rose from the table.
The morning sun blazed on the deck,
visible through the French doors across the room,
and although the kitchen was cool enough,
I fanned my throat with my collar.

"Oh, I don't know," he said, walking to the door
and letting out his cat,
"I usually just drink coffee in the morning."
He returned to the table and sat down.
"Don't you like them?" he asked.

"Oh, yes, they're delicious," I said,
"but I've never had them before for breakfast."
I took another small bite.
"Wherever did you find them?" I asked.

At that he lifted his chin and smiled,
and I noticed his crows-feet.
"Oh, I'll never tell," he said, laughing,
"just as I won't tell my mother
where I found you."

He laughed again and a surge of sweet fluid
coursed through my veins,
and I thought of his laughter the night before
as he handled my body. I took another small bite.

"Eat them up, eat them up, they're good for you," he said,
and he jumped to his feet and crossed the room.
"I don't really care about them myself," he said,
letting his cat back in,
"but I keep them for suitable guests."

"Our tastes are quite different then," I said.
"It's a mystery why anyone last night
would take us for twins."