How to Build a Housewife

Find a pandemonium girl
in the burning city. She’ll be
in her nightgown, smelling like
the sag to drown, the stink of cabbage.
Peel it from her muggy chest
and scrub her skin poppy red.

Next, slice her ring finger
with diamond prongs. Bleed
smokestack ribbons from her veins
and give her a mantle and chimney instead.
Let her mop the copper puddle
from the linoleum instead.

Give her daffodils and flower bins
and a child and a broom.
Watch her water them with green
hands. She’ll mumble psalms
and make flashbulb memories
of the zooming wilderness of their growth.

When she dies, bury her in white
and remember her as a mother, a wife,
a sister, a daughter. Remember her
a casserole, a clothespin, a quilt.

Later, clouds will wash away the dirt,
the steel bones that you could never soften.