Manicured Lawns
by Clara Hsu

    Talk about manicured lawns,
    shrubs trimmed like mushrooms,
    flowers bloom in rows,
    shapely trees and freshly painted fences,
    orange cones around road kills,
    (Why don't they just pick them up?)
    A housewife's desire consists of five bedroom house,
    husband comes home promptly at seven,
    money to buy grocery,
    a jeep to drive around,
    vacations in Hawaii, Europe, China,
    lunch dates with friends,
    brags about the kids, their accomplishments
    (her accomplishments),
    gardener, house cleaning services,
    all bills paid.

    At night she sleeps on the edge of the bed,
    has been constipated for six days.
    She still remembers being kicked under the table
    when she talked,
    being yelled at when she cut his hair too short,
    drove into the night when six months pregnant
    and cried her heart out,
    socializing when she was in pain,
    bleeding and feverish from childbirth.
    Now she listens to the kids scream,
    that's the only time she cries.

    For years she does it half-heartedly,
    partly for need, partly feels like an
    object of primal release.

    She smiles, white teeth
    cleaned every six months.
    Put on make-up, goes to hair salon,
    buys clothes, buys shoes, buys stuff,
    spills coffee at Starbucks.
    Long ago she traded for a diamond ring.

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