Chores

By Sarah Garber

I start with the mirror:
Whisk away the spots left over
From our nightly flossing and brushing.

The soap dish is heavy
With sloughed-off, saponified fat.
I rub and scrape
And soon the glazing gleams.

I pour acid in the bowl
And drench the seat and tank;
I erase all traces
Of daily elimination.
This toilet is nothing
But porcelain and water.

I sweep and mop the floor,
Gathering up and discarding
Hair—

fine and straight
coarse and curly

Orphan shreds of paper
Shards of fingernails.
Unidentifiable blots and streaks
Give way before the uncontested force
Of my wash rag.
Blood? Urine? I don’t want to know.

At last, with a new roll of toilet paper,
Empty trash can, and fresh hand towel,
I have rendered
The room of our mortality
Clean.

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