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My Wife Does Not Work

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"My wife does not work," he says.
And his mouth sets into a thin, grim line
before changing the subject -
easy to miss, like her.

What he doesn't say -
She washes my clothes every week,
separates my lights from my darks,
my whites from my reds,
my socks from my jeans.
And sometimes when the dryer rumbles and groans,
she delicately folds and pins until her hands are sore,
hangs clothes on the clothesline,
like flags in the wind.

What he doesn't say -
She makes my meals everyday,
fries eggs on the pan until her face is streaked with sweat,
chops onions until her eyes flow with tears.
And stacks the china plates and scrubs,
until her hands are red and raw,
writes lists of my favorite recipes,
like handwritten love notes.

What he doesn't say -
She takes care of my children every minute,
braids my daughter's curly hair,
bandages my son's scabby knees,
crafts together art projects,
until her body aches for sleep.
And sings in an offbeat yet chirpy voice,
lulling them to sleep,
like a hummingbird.

What he doesn't say -
She supports me every second,
holds my hand at business parties,
paints a beaming smile on her face for photos,
until her teeth hurt.
And claps the loudest when I win my award,
like light thunder.

"My wife does not work," he says the next day.
And his eyes flash with a disapproving glint before changing the subject -
easy to miss, like her.





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