Husbands

By Pauletta Hansel
My mother likes a man who works. She likes
my husband’s muddy knees, grass stains on the cuffs.
She loved my father, though when weekends came
he’d sleep till nine and would not lift
his eyes up from the page to move the feet
she’d vacuum under. On Saturdays my husband
digs the holes for her new roses,
softening the clay with peat and compost.
He changes bulbs she can no longer reach
and understands the inside of her toaster.
My father’s feet would carry him from chair
to bookshelf, back again till Monday came.
My mother likes to tell my husband
sit down in this chair and put your feet up.

Poem copyright ©2011 by Pauletta Hansel from her most recent book of poems, The Lives We Live in Houses, (Wind Publications, 2011). Poem reprinted by permission of Pauletta Hansel and the publisher.