|Jul/Aug 2003 • Poetry • Special Feature|
(a woman's work is never done)
I would rather write poems than keep house.
I like feathery moss and barn-skeletons,
wet new rabbits and snakeskin
boots. Wintertimes when I was a kid, I'd float
my naked Barbies down the creek to turn their
hair into blonde icicles. In summertime,
I'd hang upside-down from the thick limb
of a red maple, my face burgundy
as the waxy leaves, my legs firm
and brown as the branches.
(every man deserves a birthday cake)
I have never baked a cake.
I don't trust powdery things,
not even the powder that coats my face.
It's suspended there, delicate as spidermesh.
It snares my Mother's household hints,
my Aunt Bessie's good advice. It folds
the words away so that later, in my bathroom
mirror, I'll examine what has risen
to the surface of my face. I'll sink a toothpick
into the dough to measure my readiness.
(home sweet home)
I won't own a brick home.
I don't trust safety, things
that are immune to fire.
Things should be able to give out
once in awhile like knees and tree-waists do.
When other wives ask me about my home—
my livingroom color scheme, décor,
I blush through my powder,
sweat seeps out in damp rays
under my breasts, arms—We rent.
(babies are a gift from God)
I won't have children.
I don't trust things that come
out of burrows.
I don't even trust the salt
that my pores-the tiniest caves-release.
Plus, twins run in the family,
trot through my veins in doubled doses.
So my blank, hushed hipbones
will always jut from my skin like seashells
half-submerged in sand.
(a lady crosses her ankles)
I would rather ride the back
of my husband's Harley, bareheaded,
than chat with other wives. I don't take my tea
with sugar. I don't trust teapots, or anything else
that screams for a practical reason.
I save my voice for when my toes are coiled
with bruise-hard bliss, for when my legs
are naked, poised above my head
like shimmering pillars that could poke
right through heaven's forehead if they wanted to.