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Deva of Housecleaning


Roberta arrives,

youthful grandmother,

regular as menses she used to have,

top notch vacuum ready to hum,

non-toxic potions, powders and feather

duster stowed in a round basket.

Her microfiber cloths dazzle faucets

into impossible shine.

She paints her house pale rose

with black shutters, a maverick taste.

As for cigarettes, she gives them up

in the name of longevity, just like that,

gains weight, comely and curvaceous.

Even in winter she sheds her flip flops

on the front porch, bare arms CD-laden

with upbeat vocals she sings while dusting.

She gets me going too with Michael Franti’s

hip-hop and Adele’s river of tears.

There must be a Black mama living

under the skin of my friend.

No matter the trials, with kindness and songs

she gets on over. Sometimes we both cry,

music her balm after tending many friends

who slip away in distress, yet are never alone

when held in her loyal presence.

On her first visit, she leaves shards

and slivers of soap stacked in ziggurats

in the shower stall, and by the sink

a sailboat made of soap! The girl’s

an artiste. On a kitchen window sill

she arranges a gallery of beasts:

porcelain owl and cat, toad and heron

set among amethyst and crystals

to sunbathe with the primrose.

Air scented with cedar and citrus,

dust felt banished, vibration lifted,

the Deva of hearth and home

flies off until the next moon.

Claudia Lapp (CEL) 3/22/2014

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