This Woman's Work

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: September 15, 2020

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Submitted: September 15, 2020

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This Woman’s Work

Inspired by Jonathan Swift’s “The Lady’s Dressing Room”

 

In two hours (who can do it in less?)

The strong Housewife’s hands clean Man’s mayhem

With a stiff back and firm look of purpose,

She swiftly grabs her supplies and surges

To the kitchen—Alas! This place as well,

Her work, breaking and dull, is trivial.

Lord knows, when Husband enters her trim home,

She yearns his leave to a catacomb. 

For what lies in store, each waking mourning,

She prepares herself with a forewarning:

 

There will be a stench beyond compare,

And a sight that will seem to impair

All manner of capable success

(These negative thoughts she tries to repress). 

Still, she cannot avoiding the pre-exposed:

Grime, filth, past food already decomposed.

Juices drip and steam in afternoon heat,

So rich, the odor rises like rank feet.

And she twitches as the native drums

When the counter is lined with Husband’s crumbs.

 

“Oh, couldest thou not eateth o’er a plate?

Or wast thou w’rri’d about being late?”

The housewife asks the heavens above,

As she gives the grains an embittered shove. 

Now plucking the Tupperware from its vault

With carful hands, she scrubs without fault,

Leaving no trace of tomato sauce,

Fishy aromas, or old bread with moss.

Away she goes, wiping the man free of sin,

As if his misdeed never did begin. 

 

Next, the living room, scattered and idle,

Housewife strives to fake it a recital, 

For the day when children will come,

Running blithe, tracking dirt, and sticking gum

Betwixt the cracks of New Mother’s door;

All the while, still straining to deplore

Husband’s shoes and socks tossed here and there,

And sweaty pants still stuffed with underwear.

“What a struggle it is for man to fold

When Housewife already fits the mold.”

 

Last is the bathroom, stained with hard water,

Green and black—she sighs, “I must be tauter.”

The sweat has gathered on her crown now,

Still, she sets off like an unemployed plow. 

Pumping the acid from her shoulders,

Elbows, and knees assembled like soldiers’,

To rid this home of an immoral,

Tireless, and soiled quarrel.

But it never ends, this woman’s work,

For Man’s pride and ignorance does lurk.

 

“How was thy day?” He inquires simply,

Tossing Tuperware, quite quickly

Into the sink, as the shine fades

And the previous smell soon invades. 

“Fine,” Housewife responds,

Too blind to see the house corresponds 

To the ways of Husband’s act,

Too spent to find the will to react

To the way he sloughs off his shoes.

“He wilt hast labor’d firm today,” she reviews. 

 


© Copyright 2020 Nicole Modugno. All rights reserved.

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