Now That I Swept
I swept the veranda
I swept the hall
I swept in corners I turned
a blind-eye at before.
The encasing cracked. The bride’s dress
was lifted out of the attic into sunlight.
There was paint on the windows. I scraped
it off, exposing galleries of creepy-crawlers
and prayers half-prayed
still writhing on the floor, struggling
for breath and completion.
I showed courage, even killed my longest ties,
bought bread at a new store and accepted the storm.
This home-swept sterility has outlasted fears,
sermons of aestheticism dug deep to remove
the pus from my wounds.
I count – one – two – each heartache
quietly. I turn the gas on and wait for heat.
I am not comfortable without clutter.
I cannot soar in this crate,
with manicured belongings and my attention given over
to such ruthless unending details. The old has died.
This new is not my home, but my desires will layer up
again, roll in the wind again, collect
broken robin shells, leaf stems, and shed animal fur.
It will feel like home sometime after
I am sure my fears have been defeated,
when I can trust myself not to pillage,
loiter or take for granted.
Blessings, hair-ties, a time of ginger tea.
I swept and now everything is clean.
I swept, and slowly I will let life back in,
but not before inspecting the truth of its charm
and the smell of its comfort.
Where it twitches and cramps, I will bear witness
to its intricacies, suffer the host as a hymn
hymn, hymn, to hold over the flame, in spite
of the other voices I hear, despite the echoing screams,
strip it, swept clear of shame
and these stultifying drift banks
I have swept
of a coward’s hidden-away rot and rubble.
© 2018 by Allison Grayhurst
First published in “Outlaw Poetry” April 2018
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