The Photo Caption

Mrs. Coolidge stands like anybody’s mother,
her white apron with its empire cut
tucked tightly under her bosom,
in pointed shoes no smart housewife
would ever wear.
Mrs. Coolidge holding the perfect pie
I imagine it’s cherry
with five butterfly cuts down the center.
The spatula held at an angle
against the edge of the pie pan
would not cut gravy.
Mrs. Coolidge standing in pointed shoes,
her empire cut apron draping to the ankles,
a surrealist painting with cut out bowls,
a rolling pin, spattered with crust for effect,
forming a perfect isosceles triangle
against the bread board.

Mrs. Coolidge poses,
the flour sifter drifts off the frame,
the bowl unsoiled, the measuring cup empty,
before the stove that has never been heated
in the kitchen from a Magritte painting,
a dark door to the right behind her,
saying, “Someone must be patient,
hopeful, proud, always devoted.”

Mrs. Coolidge in front of the Magritte door,
“the first lady of the land has never been
too proud to be her husband’s helpmate,
even in the White House she appreciates
the importance of being a good housewife.”
Mrs. Coolidge poses in the White House
for the photo with the caption
before the door and the stove that
won’t heat, spattered pins, empty bowls,
the imitation of domestic tranquility,
with the perfect cherry pie,
its five butterfly cuts down the center,
the dull blade against the edge won’t cut.
Mrs. Coolidge poses and lucky
she doesn’t own a sharp knife.

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