To Be Clean

To be clean,
I mean
clean,
really clean.

Up to your eyeballs
in elbow grease –
not you,
the house.

That was my Mom’s
idea of how to spend
a day off from school,
Spring Cleaning.

To be fair, she outgrew
the phase, or dove under
the rising tidal wave.
The family was still

relatively small
then, only 4 or 5
kids, halfway
to the later two.

One day, having heard
me use a bad word,
she washed my mouth
out with a bar of soap.

I think that must
have been where
I got the idea
for poetry,

and that poems
live on the tongue
like germs.
Much later,

I learned not all
germs are bad,
and that soap
is so hyperbolic,

a usage correction
tape or fluid,
and that all words
play a role,

and that to be
clean, really
clean, is not the same
as to be in good health.

All that said,
some poems are bad,
like this one, where
some guy talks about

his Mom, poor thing,
struggling to keep
the house and kids
clean, and just wait

until your Father
gets home. Mama
don’t allow no
poems around here.

1 Comment

  1. Dan Hen says:

    Ah ! Wait until your father gets home . I remember that phrase ! It worked , by the way . Those were the days when mothers could afford to stay home , of course , which should be commentary on later US economy and life .

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