Washerwoman

by Oonah V. Joslin


Did you think life was all
apple blossom running wild in orchards?

Those were never your apples,
my rosy girl.

Maybe I should have told you.
Maybe I should have taken your childhood dreams
wrapped in new Indian muslin
cobweb thin,
feather light,
tossed them to the wind
and made you understand the benefits of
a well-to-do husband.
But why?

Those were never your apples.

Your hands were never going to be kid-gloved and cream
arranging blossoms.
You hide them in the pockets of
your plain grey dress because they are so often
swollen red from the fruits of worthy labour.

Tomorrow is church again and starchy hymns that
tell us of our place on earth, my rosy girl.

But next spring when you rise to birdsong
you will wrap in a rough wool blanket
that child within
all rosy-cheeked.

These are your apples and the fruits of your labour.

And when the half-door
peeling green paint from the steaming copper
closes on winter,
will you be like me?

Sit and knit and wonder?
Watch mice feed beneath the blackened range
and take your leisure?


Copyright © 2011 by Oonah V. Joslin

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