Monday 10 October 2022


This month, an additional Moon Prize, the 105th, goes to Hayley Mitchell Haugen's poem "Blue Wife in the kitchen."

Blue Wife in the kitchen

                                                                   by Hayley Mitchell Haugen

only threw meat that one time
when the burgers burnt so badly
their black edges crumbled,
as gritty as tile grout. The smoke

alarm wailing, the toddler screeching,
she smashed the blue Fiestaware
on the countertop, sent those
over-grilled bastards rolling

across the stove. “God damn cooking,”
she cried, hurtling a charred disc
past her husband’s quiet shudder
in the dining room. She crumpled,

then, amongst the weight
of her ordinary domesticity:
the meal planning, the grocery shopping,
the cooking, the cleaning.

I hate those women, she thought,
the ones who make it look so easy,
who adore their Instant Pots and pin
recipes to their browser tabs, the ones

who don’t wilt a little every time
a child asks, “What’s for dinner?”
Her woes spilled over like last week’s
chili as the sun set beyond her kitchen

curtains. She hoped her family
might offer some comfort, a release
from her anxiety, but she knew
they looked on and saw only
her foolishness, knew

she would still have to feed them.

* * * * *

"Blue Wife in the kitchen" is part of Hayley Mitchell Haugen's new collection
The Blue Wife Poems (Kelsay Books, September 2022).

Hayley Mitchell Haugen is a Professor of English at Ohio University Southern. Light & Shadow, Shadow & Light from Main Street Rag (2018) is her first full-length poetry collection, and her chapbook, What the Grimm Girl Looks Forward To is from Finishing Line Press (2016). Her latest chapbook, The Blue Wife Poems, is available from Kelsay Books (September 2022). She edits Sheila-Na-Gig online and Sheila-Na-Gig Editions.


  1. I just read this poem, and the book, yesterday. Strong, deeply moving, and so well crafted. I read the whole book in one sitting; now I want to go back and read each poem slowly, to sink into the words.

  2. And you STILL have to feed them!! OMG hits home for me