To hear her tell it, my mother was a housewife
for decades in the 1950s—collecting blue

glasses from boxes of laundry soap because life
came piecemeal like that. Her husband’s

greens slick with bacon fat like he liked them;
all her winters down to cubes of ice

in his sweet tea. Her daughters growing plump
with sky. Blue milk. Blue juice. All the books

in the library, cellophane-proper as the girls
she’d gone to school with: hair nice, cuffs

buttoned for evening mass. And her in her
housedress, knees clicking like popguns,

dumbed-down toy afraid to ask what story
she was living. Rereading Grapes of Wrath

as she scrambled eggs. The Power and the
Glory as she ironed. No snuck wine, just lights

at midnight, tiptoeing back. And still the joy
of each prize. All suds—no froth. Breakable

in that powder. Inexplicably uncracked.



Alexandra Teague
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