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Spring Cleaning

A poem about the springtime rituals of a Southern home.

The thought of my death feels like the big “spring cleaning”
my mother organized every spring,
That meant that Annie Mae Steele
and Geneva Covington spent a whole week at our house,
which excited me because I never liked not having
someone in my house since I was an only child
who enjoyed having company, liked noise
and conversation in the house, like when those helpers
were there taking every “pretty” Mama had
and washing it in warm soapy water with a tiny
bit of Pinesol. They opened every single window
in the house, and hung all the bed clothes
on the hardly-used clotheslines near Charles Stovall’s
garden just over the fence, and I thought to myself,
even then, that I would love owning all these tea cups,
fancy vases, needlepoint prints, lamps and candlesticks
when Mama died, which would probably end all this
cleaning and spending time with my second mama,
Annie, and Geneva, and I would be alone,
and at a very old age, wonder how someone will handle
my “pretty things” when it’s time to clean
the house I leave behind.


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