The voice of a harpy
Crying out archaic phrases retired after 1959
A pink sweatsuit choking her crinkled skin
With perma-arm cross to keep her warm
She is a bubbela, one of many in a sea of a dying breed
They don’t raise them like they used to
Now we—we women are modern, independent, brash, inconsolate—
Idealizing the image of tall, dark, and handsomes
prancing metro sexually around on their fashionable leather scented horses.
Her only concern is the ring placed suffocating
the appropriate finger
That you eat your vegetables
That you don’t get fat, puffy-eyed and unlovable
She glares down while smacking gums observantly
“You keep him with your cooking.”
“I knew a girl, homely as sin, what a figure—but boy she could cook—could she cook.”
You try to be supportive of the memories
But they grab a hold of your throat and threaten to start squeezing.
“Would you believe—she married the best looking fella on the street. Cooking. That is
how you keep a man.”
She pauses—solemnly, tongue jabbing about at stray pieces of broccoli and squash—
“Do you know how to cook?”
You shake your head slowly.
An inefficient coda to the moment
knowing women don’t know how to cook anymore.
At least not women I know.
Only culinary artists can souffle and pan sear.
Some place inside of you, far in the back of your gut
WANTS TO KNOW how to cook.
You fear the ramifications of saying half as much.
Can’t dare ponder classes or how-to books.
Mostly it’s that little section, the missing link¬—
Is that the reason—
You want someone to cook for …
But silently shake it off.
You don’t need that.
You don’t need anything.
“Find yourself a nice fella”
She stares down at the tray considering the remnants—
“I think I’ll take my cookie with me.”
She’s whisked off by an aide to a communal bathroom
where her diaper will be checked and changed.
She will be powdered, lotioned, placed in a nightgown by
Not a man.
Where a woman will lower her down in the bed.
Turn off the light switch—
And ask if she needs anything.
She’ll shake her head no. For now.
Close her eyes and dream of cooking.
The voice of a harpy