okay, I can understand
the boiling pots of strawberries for jam,
these herbs in the window, gray and green,
my daughter’s knees like apples
scrubbed with almond soap,
stacks of white cotton diapers
my reverence for clotheslines
has been around for years

but this
of tea towels
in the dark at half past one?
scrubbing out the fridge (thumb-
nail detail) two weeks in a row?
I can outsweep Cinderella,
I’m suspicious of the dishwasher
and I have mastered
all the dagger and caterpillared attachments
of the vacuum

this is inexcusable,
this pressing of creases in myself,
new mother,
this filling up of all my free moments
with tidying, scrubbing,
folding and refolding

as if untidiness
was the reason
he didn’t want us

as if
I wasn’t clean