An order in the house
was the aim of your voice
as it passed through rooms.
Still, I once heard you alone,
singing. You were a new songbird
found its perfect voice, weaving
from note to note, key to key
and you still clipped your fingernails
wore no jewelry, for the harp
you played when very young.
Order in the house: the weaving
of my long glossy hair into braids
as I practiced piano.
The iron stomping across the board:
tomorrow’s school dress, my father’s shirt.
And you were tired at the sink
with dishes bought with coupons,
the milk and bread of respectability.
An order in the house.
It dug into your shoulders
the way the straps of dresses did,
as you grew into the bored shape
of housewives who lived near us.
Yet, when you thought you were dying
you slept each night under stars,
beneath the rubbing harmonious spheres.
In the hammock you fixed on Lyra
and knew from the stars’ movement
the earth fell toward the next day’s light
And you wanted to stay on earth.
It had to do with order.
– Susan C. Waters