The following is in response to Karen Lillis’s poem “Advil” that I read via Anderbo.com, an online literary journal.
Lillis exemplifies what it is like to live in a household where the men in the family outwardly project their dominance or unnecessary masculinity. The women in this poem are subject to deal with the cats because it is the woman’s job. The speaker also suggests that ailments such as headaches are “mysterious feminine” problems. The father of the speaker in the poem suggests “that western medicine hadn’t yet come up with anything useful, and if Advil wasn’t working then the old girl would just have to ride it out.”
This brings me back to when I was a kid and my father—and the other men in the house, my two brothers—would do and say similar things. Cooking and cleaning were for women. If us boys felt sick we would be sent off the school anyways. I enjoyed the poem because I could really relate to it, or what I believe the poem is about.