Because my grandmother's hours
were apple cakes baking,
& dust motes gathering,
& linens yellowing
& seams and hems
I almost never keep house
though really I like houses
& wish I had a clean one.
Because my mother's minutes
were sucked into the roar
of the vacuum cleaner,
because she waltzed with the washer-dryer
& tore her hair waiting for repairmen
I send out my laundry,
& live in a dusty house,
though really I like clean houses
as well as anyone.
I am woman enough
to love the kneading of bread
as much as the feel
of typewriter keys
under my fingers
& the smell of clean laundry
& simmering soup
are almost as dear to me
as the smell of paper and ink.
I wish there were not a choice;
I wish I could be two women.
I wish the days could be longer.
But they are short.
So I write while
the dust piles up.
I sit at my typewriter
remembering my grandmother
& all my mothers,
& the minutes they lost
loving houses better than themselves
& the man I love cleans up the kitchen
grumbling only a little
because he knows
that after all these centuries
it is easier for him
than for me.
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(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
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(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
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(November 9 - 1937)