Natasha Trethewey


Domestic Work, 1937


All week she's cleaned
someone else's house,
stared down her own face
in the shine of copper--
bottomed pots, polished
wood, toilets she'd pull
the lid to--that look saying

Let's make a change, girl.

But Sunday mornings are hers--
church clothes starched
and hanging, a record spinning
on the console, the whole house
dancing. She raises the shades,
washes the rooms in light,
buckets of water, Octagon soap.

Cleanliness is next to godliness ...

Windows and doors flung wide,
curtains two-stepping
forward and back, neck bones
bumping in the pot, a choir
of clothes clapping on the line.

Nearer my God to Thee ...

She beats time on the rugs,
blows dust from the broom
like dandelion spores, each one
a wish for something better.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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Read poems about / on: house, girl, change, water, work, light, god, time, dance

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  • * Sunprincess * (6/4/2014 8:01:00 PM)

    ...........very nice write....you carried us back to 1937 when everything was more simple....enjoyed.. (Report) Reply

  • Scotty Pax (12/16/2012 6:11:00 PM)

    Billy Collins Mime. Billy Collins mimicked the institutional; suburban. Where there is a lack of waste. Where the real has been washed down the drain. The hypereal art is drawn out in lackadaisical observation as an accepted mineralization of brain rust. The suburban landscape... go back to your Eisenhower 50s. Find the new symbolism to cure our psychosomatic lethargy, eh? (Report) Reply

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