Reaping

by Amy Lowell

Amy Lowell

You want to know what's the matter with me, do yer?

My! ain't men blinder'n moles?

It ain't nothin' new, be sure o' that.

Why, ef you'd had eyes you'd ha' seed

Me changin' under your very nose,

Each day a little diff'rent.

But you never see nothin', you don't.

Don't touch me, Jake,

Don't you dars't to touch me,

I ain't in no humour.

That's what's come over me;

Jest a change clear through.

You lay still, an' I'll tell yer,

I've had it on my mind to tell yer

Fer some time.

It's a strain livin' a lie from mornin' till night,

An' I'm goin' to put an end to it right now.

An' don't make any mistake about one thing,

When I married yer I loved yer.

Why, your voice 'ud make

Me go hot and cold all over,

An' your kisses most stopped my heart from beatin'.

Lord! I was a silly fool.

But that's the way 'twas.

Well, I married yer

An' thought Heav'n was comin'

To set on the door-step.

Heav'n didn't do no settin',

Though the first year warn't so bad.

The baby's fever threw you off some, I guess,

An' then I took her death real hard,

An' a mopey wife kind o' disgusts a man.

I ain't blamin' yer exactly.

But that's how 'twas.

Do lay quiet,

I know I'm slow, but it's harder to say 'n I thought.

There come a time when I got to be

More wife agin than mother.

The mother part was sort of a waste

When we didn't have no other child.

But you'd got used ter lots o' things,

An' you was all took up with the farm.

Many's the time I've laid awake

Watchin' the moon go clear through the elm-tree,

Out o' sight.

I'd foller yer around like a dog,

An' set in the chair you'd be'n settin' in,

Jest to feel its arms around me,

So long's I didn't have yours.

It preyed on me, I guess,

Longin' and longin'

While you was busy all day, and snorin' all night.

Yes, I know you're wide awake now,

But now ain't then,

An' I guess you'll think diff'rent

When I'm done.

Do you mind the day you went to Hadrock?

I didn't want to stay home for reasons,

But you said someone 'd have to be here

'Cause Elmer was comin' to see t' th' telephone.

An' you never see why I was so set on goin' with yer,

Our married life hadn't be'n any great shakes,

Still marriage is marriage, an' I was raised God-fearin'.

But, Lord, you didn't notice nothin',

An' Elmer hangin' around all Winter!

'Twas a lovely mornin'.

The apple-trees was jest elegant

With their blossoms all flared out,

An' there warn't a cloud in the sky.

You went, you wouldn't pay no 'tention to what I said,

An' I heard the Ford chuggin' for most a mile,

The air was so still.

Then Elmer come.

It's no use your frettin', Jake,

I'll tell you all about it.

I know what I'm doin',

An' what's worse, I know what I done.

Elmer fixed th' telephone in about two minits,

An' he didn't seem in no hurry to go,

An' I don't know as I wanted him to go either,

I was awful mad at your not takin' me with yer,

An' I was tired o' wishin' and wishin'

An' gittin' no comfort.

I guess it ain't necessary to tell yer all the things.

He stayed to dinner,

An' he helped me do the dishes,

An' he said a home was a fine thing,

An' I said dishes warn't a home

Nor yet the room they're in.

He said a lot o' things,

An' I fended him off at first,

But he got talkin' all around me,

Clost up to the things I'd be'n thinkin',

What's the use o' me goin' on, Jake,

You know.

He got all he wanted,

An' I give it to him,

An' what's more, I'm glad!

I ain't dead, anyway,

An' somebody thinks I'm somethin'.

Keep away, Jake,

You can kill me to-morrer if you want to,

But I'm goin' to have my say.

Funny thing! Guess I ain't made to hold a man.

Elmer ain't be'n here for mor'n two months.

I don't want to pretend nothin',

Mebbe if he'd be'n lately

I shouldn't have told yer.

I'll go away in the mornin', o' course.

What you want the light fer?

I don't look no diff'rent.

Ain't the moon bright enough

To look at a woman that's deceived yer by?

Don't, Jake, don't, you can't love me now!

It ain't a question of forgiveness.

Why! I'd be thinkin' o' Elmer ev'ry minute;

It ain't decent.

Oh, my God! It ain't decent any more either way!