The Goddess of Cleaning

By Teri Ellen Cross Davis

I bequeath you bleach
its singeing sting.
I bequeath you the scrub
brush, best done on hands
and knees. I bequeath you
ammonia for the exorcism
of dirt. I bequeath you power
over clutter—the washing
machine’s spin, the dryer’s
lint grin. I bequeath you
the salvation of sweeping
—a consecrated grip on
the broomstick. I bequeath
you the dust pan’s collection
plate, the floor’s sanctified
echo, the trash bin’s penitent
face. I bequeath you the
gospel of a mop, the sacred
slosh of a rinse bucket’s
second coming. I bequeath
you the torn t-shirt as rag,
the two-sided sponge,
vinegar and newspaper’s
squeak, the glass free
of streak. I bequeath you
an old toothbrush for tiles’
hard-to-reach grime.
I bequeath you the grunt
and scrub of wool,
the eradication of rust.
Trust in me, I baptize you
in sweat, labor’s beatific
stain. I bequeath you
the power to change
one room at a time.

Reprinted with the permission of the poet.