The Women | Creative Writing | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Published April 19, 2006 at 4:00 a.m.

More women than you can imagine

eat breakfast alone

at a small table near a window

that looks out

on not much of anything.

The radio talks to them

of killings and the weather.

Some of the women are smiling.

Perhaps they grow geraniums

on their windowsill, are pleased

with the color.

More women than you think

sleep in a Murphy bed. They

push the heavy frame into the wall

in the morning, lower it at night,

dress it with sheets, a blanket,

a blue-striped seersucker spread.

But this is not a lament.

They sleep well most nights.

Sometimes moonlight

falls on the rose-patterned carpet.

And there are more women than you might imagine who

take care of old men who have forgotten

the names of the women

and the names of the sons and the daughters.

These are the men who are not sure

of a spoon. Sometimes they can be told

how to hold and lift it. Other times

a spoon is a conch shell pearled

in mystery. Then the women

put bibs on the old men who cannot remember

and feed them.

Nothing here should surprise us.

More women than you imagine

teach themselves to live

in that slim space between now and tomorrow.

"The Women" appears in A Cartography of Peace, Passager Books, 2005.