THE NEW DOMESTICITY, BY NANCY REDDY
All the babies we will ever have
are with us in this Tuesday morning kitchen,
eating freezer waffles and sipping milk
through straws. There’s wonder here,
and also there are lunches to be packed, baby
carrots sliced and stacked inside nametagged Tupperware,
socks and shoes to be gathered. Is this
the end of sex? All this domestic bliss.
I slice the toaster waffles into bites and strips
while my husband cores the apples
they’ll eat at afternoon snack. The old house
of this marriage has original hardwoods
and penny tile in the powder room, a wide front porch
and cucumbers turning to goo
in the bottom of the produce drawer.
My husband wants me to put the kids to bed
then put on the lingerie, and isn’t
that what we all want, to have a switch to flip
from Mother to Woman, or whatever we might call
a woman who still, after nursing and giving birth
and nursing again still wants to be
a vast and fuckable continent?
I don’t know if domestic has to be
the opposite of desire. We velcro shoes
and buckle car seats. At night
we check the babies sleeping sweetly in their beds
and then sometimes behind the bedroom’s shut door
you kiss me hard, like inside this mother’s body
there’s a woman in here still.
Nancy Reddy is the author of Pocket Universe (LSU, 2022); Double Jinx (Milkweed Editions, 2015), a 2014 winner of the National Poetry Series; and Acadiana (Black Lawrence Press, 2018). She’s also co-editor, with Emily Pérez, of The Long Devotion: Poets Writing Motherhood (UGA, 2022). Poems and essays have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Pleiades, Blackbird, Colorado Review, Poets & Writers, Electric Literature, Brevity, and elsewhere. The recipient of a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and grants from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Sustainable Arts Foundation, she teaches writing at Stockton University.