— “She was the lover in every novel, the heroine in every play, the vague she in every volume of poetry.” —Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary
I don’t want to live in the sprawl, somewhere in the stifling
heat of the wide streets; I want to live in this tiny two-bedroom
with the pulse of the city beneath my feet; I want
a sink that works and space for a desk. But a woman should
want bay windows and velvet drapes and material things!
A woman should want a house big enough for little feet.
A woman should honor her mother’s words—We’re here to have
A woman should marry a doctor. A woman should
be a muse. Oh, silly me. But place your finger over
the m in muse and see what’s left, and trace the lineage
of women held hostage by a man’s pen, the lineage
of women whose hearts were stilled by booze. No, there will
be no pitter-patter in this room. The backyard is big enough for