Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Maid's Lament

A Maid's Lament

It's strange the things you learn about people
from the things they choose to throw away,

a silk shirt crumpled up in the wastebasket,
without a trace of the evening left behind,
as I examine it in the daylight,
trying to determine what it is they thought

I couldn't save with my brushes and soaps.

I am an apothecary, mixing magic potions
to lift out pigments and proteins;

blood, vomit, sweat and more I've scraped out
of the crotches of panties, the cuffs of Sunday suits,
even the hem of a wedding gown.
I've bleached away first periods,

and recently, a woman's last.

I'm hired to help people disappear from their homes,
wiping away the fingerprints of family and secret strangers

from banisters and doorjambs, dissolving footprints
from the polished floors of front rooms, where a casual acquaintance
might stumble across these clues, put two and two together,
turn around and leave.

But what's more peculiar, I think,

is how thoroughly they want me to clean their most private spaces,
how offensive they find their own refuse,

how quick they are to discard themselves.
That is why maids are necessary, to face the waste
of day to day existence, to focus on the depth of scratches,
the spread of spills, the loosening of screws,

the stubbornness of stains.

Otherwise, every displaced, dirty, or broken thing,
becomes a mirror.

People have become to me,
a list of items to be mended and sorted.
They become this to maids, so that to each other
they can remain human, whole and lovable.

It's hard work.


Blogger Amy said...

I am so glad you are posting here again. I missed you terribly.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Virginia Dare said...

It's so good to know that I was missed.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Lehcim Nosredna said...

Is this more of your fiction poetry experiments?
If not...I hope you can get the blood stains off of your hands.
If so...I hope you can get the blood stains off of your hands.
Great Job!

5:17 AM  
Blogger Virginia Dare said...

Thank you dear Alpha,


8:24 AM  
Blogger Virginia Dare said...

Oh, and this was more from the "fictional speaker" category. I mean I've taken on different personas before, but not really anything too far from my realm of thought. It's interesting to really try and situate yourself in someone completely different from you and see how they would describe the same orange you're eating. Or doing the same laundry. Well, I guess the cat's out of the bag on that one.

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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9:08 AM  
Blogger Roxx said...

You know, my mother in law was a maid for 30 some-odd years and I asked her to read your poem. She was quite moved, she say this is all quite accurate.

2:50 AM  

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