FOR 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, in soft
folds, drapes to the ankles.
She poses behind the table,
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
is unsoiled, the measuring
cup empty, the clump
of pastry too tidy.
Mrs. Coolidge poses
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, interested, proud,
always devoted.”

Mrs. Coolidge poses
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
and the perfect cherry pie
with five symmetrical butterfly cuts,
before the door and the stove that
won’t heat, spattered pins and empty
bowls, the imitation of domestic
tranquility.  Mrs. Coolidge poses
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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