Herstory: A Proverbs 31 Woman

Laundry on the Line

by Joann Boswell

Burning the candle on both ends
she does not dream anymore
except of dishes and stitches so
it seems her work never ends
circling the clock task after task
creating herstory with continuous pleasing
duty and service replace calling
she meets the needs of all
but herself

Delirious laughter on her lips
she fears nothing—for
isn’t this everything?—
and any new calamity would be
handled or welcomed, ending
her endless doing

All men enviously eye
her man at the gate,
flaunting his wealth,
his willing wife
model of feminine virtue displayed
lorded-over lesser wives who fail
to measure up, sneaking
crumbs of idleness between
backbreaking chores

She surpasses them all,
by male standards, she soars—
a woman worthy (finally) of Solomon,
accomplished enough for Mr. Darcy:
cleverly quiet, whispering wisdoms
confidently obedient, strength chained
successfully humble, savvy invisibility
thoroughly polished in female graces
dancing while cleaning
pregnant while plowing
singing while scrubbing
all this with an excellent cherry on top:
“a certain something in her air”

And he saw that it was good,
So he rested—
she quietly packed
a solitary suitcase

Joann Boswell
Joann Renee Boswell is a teacher, mother, photographer and poet currently living in Camas, WA with her partner and three children. Before having children, Joann taught and directed high school theatre in Washington state. Joann loves rainy days filled with coffee, books, handholding, moody music and sci-fi shows. Some places she’s been published include VoiceCatcher, Western Friend, The Martian Chronicle, otoliths and Mothers Always Write. Her first book of poetry, Cosmic Pockets, is expected May 2020 through Fernwood Press. You can read more at joannrenee.com.


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