On Wearing Slips in the Vegetable Garden

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She would peel off the layer
of white polyester,
strip the uniform
with a tug of zipper
until she was free.
Slip clad,
she’d stand by the dresser,
pull bobby pins by the dozen
from her too thick,
black hair.

“Go scrub the tub.
Run me a bath.”

A shower-less space,
spare,
barely room for a subset
of small and sun-licked four
to stand around the pedestal sink,
brush,
spit.

Her bedspread,
shimmering electric blue,
cellophane wrap
to perspiring backs,
and thighs slick
after nine hours
in nylon.
She’d rest.
Listen to the water
fill.

May I wear a slip like her
in the summer heat,
wander about my home
and yard
slump shouldered,
sorting mail
and pulling weeds
from amongst the cucumber leaves?

Work always
so menial and mean.

Did she see her promise
thrown out
with the afterbirth?

July 2013
Julie Ayers

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