The House’s Wife
The idea of monandry, or husbands one after the other, redecorates her rooms daily
at seven, when he arrives home, a different man. But first, out comes the compact
rouge to french-fry slashes on pale cheeks; on into the den, she elegizes, buoyed
stiff-high in low-backed chairs, then settles into the saddle of knowing
his undesired intoxication’s already fullblown by five, a virus in a hotel bar with a platinum
blonde instead of her; the fuchsia cheekbone fakery rousts what is left of shame.
Maybe the house comments on her church: the diocese of televised laundry soap;
maybe it seizes on the example of her free-flying neighbor’s domestic roommate
and their uncurtained windows; maybe desire’s time-exposure inches open in the dead
of nightfall, when others populate instead of drifting, like her. Whatever the exposure,
she will esteem it by situating herself at an oblique window, like a bookie, or by dropping
all pretenses of modesty after she slips out to masturbate in the dark-
seated Stuka stashed in the old barn, or by discharging a fast fizz of whipped cream
straight onto her tongue, or when cincturing her forearm with a rubber tube
the thickness of a moccasin flowerstalk, reaching for the deep theft of consciousness.
Soon after, though, the house will comment on the cost of all her furnishings,
on her politics, her pledges and fa-la— even the most muted songs
dredging up daily assurances of her proper role.