You the Widder Woman?
The handyman shuffles out of his faded
pickup truck. Cheek packed with chaw,
he sends a rusty arc of spittle toward the forsythia.
His gaze openly examines me: the grey streaks,
wrinkles, garden grubby overhauls.
I wonder if he would part my lips to check my teeth.
He scans my house and land, pale eyes already
seeing himself lazing in the green hammock,
grabbing a fat chicken for the stewing pot,
opening the refrigerator to check if there is any beer.
Woman like you shouldn’t have to keep up a house,
all this land. His arm sweeps air as if he is clear
cutting trees, calculating how much money
that cut lumber could bring his way.
Little lady like you should have a man around
for stuff like this, taking care of business.
He closes one eye in what I take to be a wink.
I want to tell him to fuck off, but I need
a new window and the leaves have already
turned the corner toward winter.
I retreat to what is left of the fall flowers,
work mulch over summer spent ground,
try to ignore his leers until he finishes.
I watch his truck belch its way down the drive,
put down my rake and gloves with shaking hands.
Is he right?
Is staying on the land—this place I love—
too much for a woman alone?
I can chop wood, change a flat tire, bake bread,
but is that enough?
I perch on a rock overlooking the valley—
lavish in its autumn patchwork—
and search for answers: the sun’s pulsing
blood echoes through my veins,
the mountains cradle me with their iron.
Allison Thorpe is a writer from Lexington, KY. The author of several books of poetry, she has recent work in Yellow Chair Review, Dirty Chai, Misfit Magazine, The Homestead Review, Poetry Pacific, Wraparound South, Gingerbread House, Two Hawks Quarterly, and The Birds We Piled Loosely.