They scour away tarnished thoughts—
They sweep away the universe beyond
Dingy bristles of brooms
And sponges that smell of other people’s fate.
They polish and shine until they can see
A brilliant reflection,
Bright;shiny;alive, the image of themselves
Imprisoned in the stainless steel of a sink
Or in a wavy, watery grave, drowning at the bottom of a toilet.
Visions of women with letters that gracefully trail their names,
Women with hands of satin and nails of fire
The click, click, click of heels
Across a floor, cleaned by the hands of another person.
They clean to replace the discolored longings
That tease the corroded fingertips of soiled hands—
Weathered, wrinkled, smelling of bleach.
They dust away web-laden grime,
And the fetid grunge boxed
In musty corners
Of steamy, crowded rooms and clustered closets between synapses—
Where the future tastes of moth balls and lye
Where the tiles of a life unknown
Are grouted permanently in place
Scrubbed, exposed, by wanting hands.