the joys of home economics,
the room full of do-gooders, helpers,
sewers, piecing together pillow cases
and aprons; smiling with roses
in their cheeks, with soft hands
and sugared smiles. My daughters
will not be taught how to decorate
a table, will not suck in their bellies
with books on their heads, shoulders
pressed back with the possibilities
of marriage and musical notes spun
from kitchens. They will not learn
how to clean up after cooking
bacon, to pour a curling ribbon of soap
into the hot pan, to wet paper towels,
throw them steaming
into the sizzle of grease.
How will they survive?
Who will tell them how
to avoid the steely prick of needles?
How will they protect themselves
from the slick jaws of fabric shears?
Both are aware their limbs
belong to them, both know
they are their own canvas—
they cannot be adorned.
They are the flowers and the lace.
Alexandra Umlas lives in Huntington Beach, CA and is currently an MFA student in the Poetry program at California State University, Long Beach.
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