On the Intimate Betrayal of Patriarchy
When we were young, we lived in a newlywed glow but didn’t know it. We painted castles in the sky and held hands and shared housework.
But then, little by little, socialized expectations set in.
My feminist husband, respectful and kind and determined to love me passionately as myself
Who never once balked at my feminist critiques of religions and systems
Marriage is complicated.
Some days I remember the mountain of kindnesses, too numerous to catalogue
One day he got sick. Very sick.
And I took the reins with no one to shelter
Or anticipate my hurt
Or prepare a place for my weary feet.
We had such dreams of égalité
An equal yoke, unused
We slipped into hierarchy the way some people slip into a bathtub
I don’t often slip into bathtubs anymore
And now I am never sick or hurt or tired
Not enough, anyway, to warrant a rest.
Sleep, yes, but I miss the tenderness
I hold up the heavens with an aching back
While my husband lay weary beneath the stars
There’s a touch of oppression in being indispensable
More than a brush as the years go on
The castle we built in the sky was made of clouds
And the wind blew.
It wore him down.
It wore me down too.