There’s something wicked that empowers poets cleaning their houses
Poetry loves a fresh floor, a spotless toilet, even under the rim.
There are a thousand ways to get grout white again.
A thousand ways to shine tile, to polish a sink new.
Poetry lives between the bristles of a used toothbrush,
Metaphors choke when the poet touches the feather duster:
poetry loves grime. It’s tired of living like an old washcloth,
wiping away staleness like lime from a spigot.
The garbage must be dumped, the dog washed, books alphabetized.
Help me, whatever it is that makes poems.
Whatever divine synapse clicks invisibly like a dust mote
in the darkness, gathering word upon word,
balling phrases under the bed where only the broom’s
eyelashes touch; help me whatever thing drives the scouring pad,
the dish cloth, the mop, each hand latex-gloved, dumb and callous,
the pen dormant in its shell, but clean. Sloth saves poets
the way the sea saves painters: each wave decorating a new landscape
to love, every handful of sand, original, capricious.
I know each coffee stain on the sofa is a stanza waiting to set in,
that glass-ring on the nightstand an unending orb waiting for its tenor.
I’ll just tidy up a little while poetry dies inside my sponge.
I live here among the dog hair, the mildew, the rust.