Hiding Out in a Housecoat

The housewife scurries around

Somewhat proud but defensive of her unbelonging

Chores are executed with a silence

Broken only by the songs of Perry Como … lingering in each room.


The Irish housecoat placed this play

In deference to a mother

Still struggling in a Limerick

Trying to throw out the ashes of poverty


Poor is not a word spoken lightly

In the cottage

For it brings memories

Of both hunger and shame


Shame being the saddest of all


Concealed like rising damp

The coldness and breathlessness of shame

Remains clinging to the singing

Ever ready to explode when exposed by gossip or chit-chat,

provided by the willing neighbors.


So the cover-up continues

Until a new life

In the Irish cocoon at the cottage

Completes my womb-like isolation


Until we are …

Separated from both worlds

And the words of Perry Como

Dominate and dress the landscape


Of us all, in hiding from both worlds


When the pain comes in from those who dislike you,

Or what you have done,

Or seems you had done;

The fork in the road rushes up.


To vilify and engage in debate,

Shredding their argument,

And then their clothes;

Until they are left naked, and your work is done.


Or listen and pray,

Perhaps then, we might hear what is behind the words,

The critiques, the noise,

And learn what is in their heart.


Which may tell us what is in ours.