The Last Housewife | John Grey

She ironed in the parlor,
eyes on high alert
as her favorite soap operas
reached their latest flashpoint
while her hand methodically
moved back and forth
across her husband’s shirts,
trousers, underwear,
to the soft hiss of steam
that dissipated in the air.

She was more concerned
with whether the handsome doctor
would see through
the duplicitous nurse
than if a tablecloth was wrinkled,
a handkerchief scorched.
The various TV plots intrigued her.
And there were no plots
in her daily life.
People stayed together
just the way she ironed –
through habit.

She prepared his meals
to the sound of the radio:
the romantic trials and trysts of others
with melodies she could hum along to.
Young love caught her attention.
Old love followed recipes by rote.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in That, Dunes Review, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, Thin Air, Dalhousie Review and failbetter.

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