(Curly’s Wife)

Everyday I watch men work
Behind the scenes I observe
I examine their movement
And watch them make conversation
Every day
Drowning in my own thoughts
Not permitted to say a word
Itching to say something
But I sit in silence
I’m full of words I wish to speak
From time to time I spill
When I sit and smile I’m something nice to look at
But when I talk I am an inconvenience
If I dare speak up
The workers stop talking and stare
With their sharp overworked eyes
As if I have tainted the very air they breathe
As if I’m already pretty without a voice
So who turned up the volume?
But of course
It’s my bad
I know their air tastes best pure
And uninvaded by my opinion
I didn’t mean to slip
I didn’t mean to overstep
I never meant for my words to clash with their closed minded ideals
In the company of my monochrome wordlessness
Is my awareness of the consequences
That come with speaking up `
If I could go back in time
I would continue my consistent silence
I would continue my suffering
As long as that meant
That today I’d still be breathing

In this assignment, we were asked to write a 30+ line poem from the perspective of a character from the book Of Mice And Men. For my poem, I wrote a poem from Curly’s wife’s perspective. In the poem, I tried to portray the level of neglect and loneliness she had been experiencing. When I read this poem I think about how the sexist environment, because of the time period, impacted this character. When other people read this poem, I hope they can find a way to empathize with Curly’s wife, and realize how sexism can effect someone.


CC BY-SA 4.0 I’d Still Be Breathing by Chiara is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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Youth Voices is organized by teachers at local sites of the National Writing Project and in partnership with Educator Innovator.

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