Gargoyle 9
cover drawing by Ashby North
publication date 3/23/1978

Mutations of a Modern Housewife

Donna Kaulkin

I have been worshiping with all of my ornaments intact
Your lute leans in the darkness against a wall of years
And we dance
We have always danced well together

The lie throws my body into aching
My knees bend from the strain of bearing
This particular dress
This white habit
This choking sari with butterfly sleeves
No matter how many turns I maneuver
How often I conjure new ways of wrapping
It never conceals my flesh
But dances out from me like separate skin
I molt in a reversal of seasons
Larva in your stunned hands
My love, did you order this garment from a gifted seamstress?
Did I?

We are out of step
My knees already crusty with kneeling grow limp
Like a pair of crabs
Washed up
Searching searching
For the sea