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Anne Whitehouse


Lady Bird Johnson by Aaron Shikler

In my day, women had their sphere,
and men had theirs. I became an observer,
concealing myself behind public duties.
Some people mocked me for my devotion
to wildflowers. Let her occupy herself,
they said, with a cause of little importance,
leaving us free for matters of consequence.

There is a damaged place in each of us.
With me, Lyndon never had to be ashamed
of the gawky farm boy yoked to poverty
as a result of his father’s foolish dreams.
He was a disappointing husband,
but I would never leave him.

I come from a long line of women
who learned to look the other way.
They lived with what they couldn’t change.
It didn’t mean they liked it.

There’s a reason I love wildflowers.
They’re not glamorous or flashy.
They have a modest prettiness
that’s worth a second look.
The seeds may lie dormant for years,
settled or buried, blown by the wind,
but one day they will take hold and bloom.
Then they will be everywhere.


About the writer:
Anne Whitehouse’s most recent poetry collection is Outside From The Inside (Dos Madres Press, 2020), and her most recent chapbook is Escaping Lee Miller (Ethel Zine and Micro Press, 2021). She is also the author of a novel, Fall Love. Work by Anne Whitehouse is also available from O:JA&L’s Buttonhook Press. For a comprehensive list of Anne Whitehouse work available from both our journal and our press, visit the following link: Anne Whitehouse.

Image: Lady Bird Johnson by Aaron Shikler (1922-2015). No medium specified. No size specified. 1978. Public domain.

OJAL Art Incorporated, publishing since 2017 as OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters (O:JA&L) and its imprint Buttonhook Press, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation supporting writers and artists worldwide.

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