washing curtains at 2am

I often wondered how quick

My mother was prone to rid

Of the mud steps that trailed

Behind us after we’ve played and skipped

Under the apple trees and dirty fields

How her hand was so fast enough to wipe

The dust before it got too cozy on the tables

The cobwebs never got a fair chance to display

Their well-knit patterns on the corners of our ceilings

Or the places you never imagined to reach

I often wondered how much more gleam

From the windows and the looking glass

Would come from the fussy, fervent rubbing

Our collars remained free from the sweat stains of our neck

With us having worn them to the bone, stitch, thread

How her fingers had the time to separate themselves

To seal gaping holes throughout our home

Our wiggly toes stayed behind sewn socks

Elbows behind the stitched walls of passed down sweaters

Without a typical trade to go and clock into

As our father always reminded us about the bread he won

The sun would still find her awake, and retired before her

On her heels, on her knees, stirring meals, scrubbing stains

The skin off her knuckles peeled

Her nails brittle and torn

And yet there she was, sun dancing, dust beating, storms roaring

On her heels, on her knees, stirring meals, scrubbing stains

I understood, the day I found my back bent over the washing tub

At the back of our house

Under the moonlight and hooting owls

Washing curtains at 2am

Fervently, urgently, restlessly, ravingly

With the hope that the water running down the drain

Will wash away the blood

That was pooling between the spaces

Of my broken heart

Published by

Nthepa

Autodidact & Bibliophile

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