Poetry | Housewife

Close up of pink peonies in a vase, with focus on one opening stalk

By Samantha Shanley

“You’re a different person,”
my husband said.
This was years ago

Thank god
he was right.
I had hidden it
without knowing
the way one ought
to know.

Later, after he
because I told him
he must
He walked
into the garden
where I struggled
with the peonies

I hated yard work.

Besides, for years
I had been raising
our babies.
Women with money
like me
for the help.

But he didn’t like that.

I knew that
just because
he knew
how to make
my body
didn’t mean
I had
to let him.

“Look at you!”
He laughed.

I looked at him.

“The kids are inside,”
I said
and turned back to
my work.

I wondered
could he see it
in my face

How I could have
cut a man
taken flesh
with the blade
of rage.

I had dragged it
without knowing
the way one ought
to know.

this house
was mine now.

He shuddered
and turned
to go,
though he still didn’t

I stood shaking
on my ground
clippers in hand.

I said to myself.
“It’s over now.”

There was no
to strike

For I had won
the agency
of all time.

Samantha Shanley is a writer and mother of three. She teaches writing at GrubStreet in Boston, and her essay work can be found here. She is working on a memoir about matriarchy, identity, and growing up in a complex, blended family.

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