Elizabeth Harmatys Park

Back to Poetry

What Their Mothers Told My Lady Friends About Marriage

Don’t do anything the first year
      that you don’t want to do
      for the rest of your life with him
Don’t paint anything
Don’t cut the grass
Don’t clean the fish he catches
Don’t wait on him
Don’t let him do the laundry
      or everything will come out grey
Iron his shorts and tee shirts
Everything has to be 50/50
Always be out of bed when he leaves
      and kiss him good-bye
Freshen yourself up
      and put the kids in clean clothes
      before he gets home
If nothing else, at least set the table
Don’t take any crap from him
Don’t go to bed mad
And better get used to sleeping
      without any underpants on
That one made us laugh the hardest
      because we all remembered
      when we had no idea
      what that meant


Elizabeth Harmatys Park a Wisconsin native, sociologist and peace activist, who writes with Author’s Echo in Burlington. Her poetry has been published in journals and anthologies. She is a past recipient of the Jade Ring First Place poetry prize awarded by the Wisconsin Writers Association.