Beauty is Quite Strange, 6 by Roxanne Carter


photo by Katherine Elizabeth

Beauty is Quite Strange, 6

women are beautiful in a house. they look out of windows, their bodies slide effortlessly between archways, their cheekbones clang on lighting fixtures. nothing will stop a woman from making a beautiful home, from becoming beautiful in a house, from becoming a house herself. her legs will protrude from the doors, she will wear the house like a cocktail dress, she will lift her cigarette daintily to the gable-roof window, where her mouth waits. now this is a dream. this is not actuality. a beautiful house, a man she loves living with beauty inside. she wants to see that his clothes are handsome. that he wears a hat, keeps his chin smooth, and carries a handkerchief, offering it to her when she sneezes, throwing it across puddles when she walks in her satin shoes. they’re lost in this picture, a depiction of a home, a very beautiful thing. a woman… for instance, bouquets of flowers, shirtwaist dresses, costume jewelry, cake tins. all of these make living substantial. her energy goes every which way… the freshly cut sunflowers and basket of newly fallen apples make a beautiful arrangement of the table. she’s indifferent to etiquette, and when she’s alone, she will eat in only her lavender slip, standing barefoot on a newspaper. she doesn’t care. all right.

in the dining room, there’s a beautifully set table. they had arranged it. they did this together. he exclaimed, we did this together. there are flowers, there are fruit. here is a charming table, and what will it do? it immediately released something in them to which they responded. beauty is important. a woman has a beautiful life, a beautiful home, she lives with her head in the attic and knees pressed against the furnace in the basement. so firm they blush. if it rains and there is a flood, the torrent will come, and take her in one gulp. she will not resist, so encumbered by architecture.

                – Roxanne Carter
                   from Words Dance 12, Fall 2008