john grey



Julia Keeps Busy

It's two weeks after
her husband's funeral,
the first of many house-cleanings.
The hands roust no longer keep still
otherwise there's just
the heart and the head,
and they're not done weeping.
With bucket and brush,
she makes her way through empty room
after empty room,
washing away the dust she feels,
or scouring out the dirt in the corners,
like memories forgotten and hardened
and blackening.
She must be careful not to scrub away
the sense of him,
not to make everything so spotless
it would feel as if no one was living there
or ever lived there.
If there's a man smell,
she'll work around it.
If there's a ghost
taking shape and essence
from the summer twilight,
she won't disturb a wisp of it.
Weary, she stops to rest,
her eyes alighting
on the grinning man on the side
of the bottle of cleaning liquid.
He'll help her slick down, gloss,
cleanse and purge and freshen
but he'll never be the one.


back to issue 3

take me home