Ruth Kogen Goodwin is a writer and editor living in Southern California with her husband and their daughter. Her work has appeared on and in Eclectica Magazine, the Eunoia Review, and Vine Leaves Literary Journal, among other publications. Her essay, “The Swing,” was a finalist for the 2017 New Letters Prize for the Essay. She received an MFA in creative writing from American University.

The Housewife Burns

Ruth Kogen Goodwin


Dinner. And her favorite shirt while

ironing. She was always careless

with warmth. Knew she had to burn

the bridges too, those secreted in a box

under the bed. Most tenuous as rope

after all this time. A muddle of

ticket stubs and greeting cards—

wallet-sized mementos that snap

in the backyard fire pit. She knew

the flames must lick it all to ash,

extinguish what was, before she could

dedicate herself to this. Light the stove,

cut the meat, cook the dinner; gnaw

the charred edges that are left, together.

The Housewife Hides

Ruth Kogen Goodwin


From her son under a heap of pillows.

He has instructed her how to be

invisible. He conducts this game

of hide-and-seek as a maestro.

Directs the dynamics of the

situation. Creates the rules and

constraints. And she lets him.

Because he gets to choose

so little of his day. Must obey.

She is familiar with this.

So she allows him to control

the strategy. Each move and gesture.

You: there. Me: here.

I do the counting and you disappear.


The Housewife Vacuums

Ruth Kogen Goodwin


Not just around this time, but under

and through the grime behind

the bookshelf, the crumbs under

the sofa. She will get it all, this time

every last speck, she thinks, trapped

in the suck and swirl and hum.

She is getting that Rosie bicep; that

Hoover behooves her, she snickers, numb.

See, this can be fun, no need for more,

for sure, for four score, or more, four walls,

these four walls, the halls, they call, for

all these walls they stall her core, they maul

her shore, they moor her roar, this humor

will crack.