​​H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S   J O U R N A L

sarah lilius



Strange Domesticity


I’ve yet to see my mother slice
an onion, the white milky juice 
seep out like tears of a homemaker.

I can’t recall my mother chopping
carrots for soup or stir-fry, long, orange,
hard enough to be a weapon.

When I was young, I remember
the laundry, the dishes, the cleaning
she kept up with so we wouldn’t sneeze.

We were never dirty, cleanliness is next
to Godliness
, she would joke 
and laugh madly while wiping my face.

My room was kept neat as a folded 
shirt, every fold sharp and proper, 
every toy in place, rows of order.

My sister and I were her job,
the house, her job. My memories 
are not vivid as she blended

into that house, the wallpaper she chose
for the hallway matched her new blouse
and there she lived, domestic chameleon,

someone I can’t find
because she hides still—
the floral pattern grazes her face.






Sarah Lilius currently live in Arlington, VA where she's a poet and an assistant editor for ELJ Publications. Some of her publication credits include the Denver Quarterly, Court Green, BlazeVOX, Bluestem, and Stirring. She is also the author of the chapbook What Becomes Within (ELJ Publications 2014). Her website is sarahlilius.com