To Her Boy, Distressed

Had we but money enough, and time,
Our slothfulness would be no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To take the garbage out today.
You by the TV would reside
Remote in hand: I curled inside
The marital bed with a book.
At disarray we would not look.
And we should if we please, refuse
To clean, until I have no weight left to lose.
A hundred dollars we would spend
To find a means to a tidy end.
Others would deal with our squalor
I would still be a woman of valor.
Never would our hands touch dirt
Only our pocketbooks would hurt
As we hired help for that and this
In a constant state of bliss.
I know this to be your ideal state,
Sleeping long and sleeping late.

But at my back I always hear
My mother's voice hurrying near.
And yonder all before us sits
Knowledge of her impending visit.
Driven with unrelenting passion
To a perfect home (after a fashion)
Neither hide nor hair is out of place,
No heartbeats at breathless place
Her palace is free of disorder & dust.
Another glaring omission: lust.
Her house's a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.

Let's begin the task at hand,
Respond to the implicit demand
Present a home with sparkling surface
A cold and antiseptic place.
Romance is hard to sustain
While scrubbing to remove a stain,
But toil away we must.
My mother's eagle eye for rust
Will see under the varnish
To anything we did not finish.

Why must we conform to her ways?
Because I always do what my mother says.

by Elisheva Pomrenze

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Elisheva Pomrenze has a BA and MA in English literature and watches a lot of TV. Her master's thesis covered both literary women who worked and literary women who didn't and killed themselves.