A Woman's Work

1 May 2006



I am scared

to marry you.


I do not want

to forget



black ink

on clean sheets


pencil markings

in the margins

next to texts.


Mama told me

“A woman’s work is

never done.”



must always be taken out


must always be done


must always be made


must always be washed


There is a list

longer than a study guide

on Chaucer.


But I’m afraid

that the notes

I make

for The Canterbury Tales

will be lost

in the hamper


wetted in the washing machine


torn in the dryer


and pressed by the iron.


Mama told me another thing—

to marry

a man smarter than myself.


She said it would make me



But I know she said this

so I won’t feel

a lost cause


when gardening

and tidying


because the partners

are coming to dinner.



©Julie Bolitho.“A Woman’s Work,” Poem. The Offbeat: Fully Clothed. Michigan State University Press: Vol. 6. (Spring 2006), p. 76-77.










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© Julie Bolitho 2018