Catherine Elaine

The Housewife

She is the queen of the household
who is treated like the maid.
She is the partner in marriage
who is regulated as the secretary.

A dying breed in this race-paced age,
she is up before eight to usher the others
to the office, or the classroom,
always ready by the phone to take his
calls, run his errands, and
slam the receiver down on his abuse.

Subdued isolation.

She sits in her beautiful, empty house.
Does laundry, dishes, contemplates dinner.
She sits in her beautiful, empty shell.

Outside the house, she is sun, she is laughter.
She refuses to even get the mail without
spraying her hair or painting her face.

Not yet 50, half of all her days on earth
have passed this way. She will die
this way.

She prays for it to be soon.

Resigned desolation.

But every summer,
she kills her hours by giving life
to a kaleidoscope of flowers-
geraniums, pansies, daisies
tulips and an amaryllis
(heralds of hope) .
Not a spec of dirt goes unquenched as
she pets them in their pots.

Unlike her children,
they still need her.

When he walks in, she turns her cheek to
his diplomatic kiss.

And when the day is done,
when the washer swallows the dishes,
the cloth placemats are shaken,
and the crickets croon,

she’ll meticulously sweep every corner
for the crumbs of her soul.

Poem Submitted: Monday, July 31, 2006
Poem Edited: Friday, August 20, 2010

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Comments about The Housewife by Catherine Elaine

  • Tom Schusterbauer (7/31/2006 8:56:00 PM)

    There are good images here and there are images that are too obvious, lines that are too much of a direct statement. Try to make some of the pictures more subtle and leave out the commentary. Trust your words to touch the truth.

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