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

ALEXANDRA TEAGUE is the author of Mortal Geography (Persea 2010), winner of the 2009 Lexi Rudnitsky Prize and 2010 California Book Award, and The Wise and Foolish Builders (Persea 2015). Her poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in The Threepenny Review, The Missouri Review, and elsewhere. She is Assistant Professor of Poetry at University of Idaho and an editor for Broadsided Press.

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