The Wife

I hired a house-help recently. She’s quite fascinating. This is an ode to her.

The Wife


She scratched her sparse grey scalp.

God’s hurried hand had sketched her hair—

Straight lines merged at the apology of a bun.

A small white rose pinned with two thin pins

Atop the knot, proclaimed pride in womanhood.

Her too-large blouse, many holed, held together

With safety pins. Her synthetic sari tucked up

In folds, dripped, for it was raining—not harshly,

But a continuous drizzle that had skimmed all fat

And defined her tall, strong-boned, work-horse of a body.


‘I am sixty-five… My children are in hostel…’ she says.

‘I studied till 11th standard,’ she says. Broken English testifies…

‘I will clean my daughter’s house,’ she says

And she does—slowly, lovingly… Perforce remembering my mother,

I distance her, but she has walked into my house, and… my head.

Only the Universe knows how she got my number—

I’d been searching when she called, ‘I need you, please wait for me…’

She is openly grateful. Such devotion I’ve never seen.

Her past leaps to my imagination, a good wife;

In my absence, she’ll surely watch over my sons like a mother…



© Shoam 2023
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a very well painted picture of a remarkable woman, her appearance, her soul… dignified in her poverty and trustworthy…a rare gem. I like it when it when you discovered she “came into my head”….i would title this poem “The good wife” it leads to expectation and then…surprise

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