The Housewife

dreamed of applause from large audiences
but craved the applause of one
and dedicated herself to that pyrrhic quest.

The husband was not the one
and he knew it
they came to hate each other
inflicting their insecurities on themselves and
one child after the next
marching in lockstep.

Sometimes in the afternoons
while the nanny watches the children
and the housekeeper changes the sheets
she goes to the movies, alone
but does not watch the picture
she thinks with her eyes closed
vivid flashes of red
lightning bolts in the abyss.

She returns to the palace
heats dinner
attends to her daily maintenance
takes a little longer each time
tries to sleep
When he rolls over and lurches into her
she imagines she hears applause
and dreams of a wrap party.

A day in graduate school was enough to close one door
A visit to a lawyer closed another
but the deadbolt and chain comes from knowing
that even had she built a better future
she still would not hear the applause
she craved.