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House Cleaning

Alice B. Fogel

You know sometimes the house feels         like a dump for instance maybe
before you go away or when you come back                       you could pay

a little attention to detail act like you care to notice where the cobwebs dull
the plaster how much dust                     dims the shelves because did you

know that neglected houses deteriorate faster than tended ones     so once
in a while will you clear the air stop overlooking dead bulbs in lamps needs

to take out the trash make good               a promise to scrub and to sweep
under your bed and lie in it at least occasionally     get down on your knees

with a rag a sponge around the grimed toilet rim drag     out the vac plump
the pillows feel for      what’s under there leaking pens sticky nickels dimes

just remember tidiness isn’t the same as change still when was the last time
you touched the house this way                      unhurried a little possessive

about where things go what belongs                         there there is a place
for everything too much to ask all right       enough you already wiped that

down you could rub it raw                                      scratch the finish push
the furniture too far from its dark indents                       otherwise next to godliness

the house wants to be neatly     accepted for what it is or at least what you
ought to know it could be now                      and then either you work with

what you’ve got                              alongside each other like parallel lines
said to meet somewhere or else you know a place      could get too perfect

you’re like a Venn diagram all codependent overlap                   how about
you compromise with good enough for that comfortably lived in look a spot

less reputation wasn’t                                     what the house had in mind
and won’t let anyone feel                                                            at home

Alice B. Fogel

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