Now That I Swept


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

Now That I Swept by Allison Grayhurst


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