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Cleaning Lady

Text of Poem

Her coat is vague as fog but she herself
ever at odds with plump and lazy houses
walks with pride and vigor and respects
only the gleaming dish in its proper place.

She rips a sullen cobweb from the wall
that seems to challenge her authority,
then straightens slouching rooms and disciplines
the sloven manners of the yawning beds.

Her mop and broom hunt shadows until floors
mirror the order of the furniture,
as if in guilty blush the color comes
back to the carpet’s washed and patterned face.

She patiently instructs the willful house
in lessons that will save its character,
then turns it back to us as to a child
who takes for granted what he hasn’t earned.

Lord, let her have in heaven a shining home
who on this earth has borne upon her hands
the stains of labor, let windowpanes
open like eyes on the white floors of her soul.

First Line
Her coat is vague as fog but she herself
Original Pub Location
Original Publication Date
Original Citation
Anglo-American Studies 3.2 (1983) 250.
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Bibliographic Notes

HFP Box 58 Pub log lists page # as 150.