Farmwife


Farmwife

The woman who has nodded to me from her porch

for weeks, still nodes now, bobs her head

leading me inside to see

21 grandchildren posed on a shelf,

sills full of colored glass.

 

Twice, I heard, she left her husband

and then returned

 

He stays outside with the dogs,

hollering them away from the barn.

 

Chickens flutter and squall,

leaving patches of brown feathers.

 

She says she’s been nodding 26 years.

The doctor calls it ‘the trembles’

but she knows something sharper

is pecking her brain.

 

Twice his fists have hit,

knocked her against the wall.

Twice she’s returned

 

to faces of grandchildren

perfectly still in the tilt

of their frames, glass

shining on every sill,

 

to hens squawking themselves into trees

whenever a dog comes near.

She sweeps up the puddles

of brown and white feathers

that fear send flying,

 

pours them into ticking

to cushion her relentless,

affirming head.

–Betsy Sholl

 

 

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Arden, North Carolina. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2015

Arden, North Carolina. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2015

9 thoughts on “Farmwife

  1. Women endure much…no easy answer…no easy way forward…

  2. No, it hasn’t been easy being a woman. The Suffragettes showed us that if we work together, we will protect each other and we will prevail. Hugs, Barbara

  3. Only a woman can understand another woman’s agony…beautifully penned…

  4. The fear and loneliness is palpable!

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