Vanessa Kittle

by Best Poem

For the Woman in the Big House By the Sea

All morning Marie
has been watching the ocean
and drinking cold milk.
Her laundry billows: a frigate
on a broad reach going nowhere
across her perfect lawn.
She hung it herself –
would never waste
money on a servant.

She has to fix dinner now.
Charles may be home
from the city this weekend.
If not, she will have seconds
of the lovely blueberry cobbler
she made while the laundry
was in the machine.

As she passes, she adjusts
a crooked mirror,
and sees herself.
Her lips have become so thin.

Her daughter said that bitterness
has devoured all of the fat from her face.
But Marie doesn’t believe in nonsense.
Vain fools with their lipstick. Filthy.

Through the window
she sees a sailboat
cutting through
frothy waves.

She quickly heads for the kitchen.
There is work to be done –
dinner, then laundry to take in.
Her knuckles become as white as sails
as she leans against the marble counter.
For a moment she feels
like she’s being watched.
She has let herself be too idle.
That is all.
She will not let this happen again.

Vanessa Kittle is 35. She lives out on Long Island, New York with her evil kitten, Sombrero. A former chef and lawyer, Vanessa is now an English composition professor. She published 2 collections of poetry in 2006: a chapbook called Apart, and a full-length book called Surviving the Days of the Empire, both with The March Street Press. Her work has recently been in The New Renaissance, Nerve Cowboy, Limestone, Ibbetson Street, and A Generation Defining Itself anthology. Vanessa edits Abramelin, the Journal of Poetry and Magick. Her poem ‘Next Time’ was nominated for a 2007 Pushcart Prize by Barbaric Yawp Magazine.