Article Type: Poem
Subject: Domesticity (Portrayals)
Female-male relations (Portrayals)
House cleaning (Portrayals)
Author: Dickie, Madelaine
Pub Date: 05/01/2010
Publication: Name: Hecate Publisher: Hecate Press Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Women's issues/gender studies Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 Hecate Press ISSN: 0311-4198
Issue: Date: May-Nov, 2010 Source Volume: 36 Source Issue: 1-2
Topic: NamedWork: Cleaning (Dickie, Madelaine) (Poem)
Accession Number: 246529811
Full Text:
 like the spilt white balls from my beanbag I keep finding it in the
strangest corners. in the kitchen's gutters, behind the shutters,
in the muttering, bloodthirsty beaks of our balcony pigeons they keep
giving me dumb, fertile winks, not a stutter of question.
(she is so still on her egg.
    so calm).
it is spilled all through my apartment: this bleached and quick-rolling
i don't know how to catch it. how to clean it.
we tried the vacuum.
i told you on Bourke against the blue fizz of a Novotel, the black
shotgun serifs of a kebab place, no tungsten to soften blows from
headlights or cradle the creaking of our dreams. you, speaking in a
voice shocked like quartz, me, weeping.
further North the paintbrush clatter of pines and the rain in a stinging
protest of shit and steel: you did something you had never done stripped
and shielded me in your clothes (as if you already knew) cupped both
your hands around my belly.
i'm scared, too.
i watched another woman's children swim wonky freestyle, they
seemed almost pretty perhaps it was the light: diffuse smoky with
chlorine a flickering, vase-deep blue.
or perhaps it was the change of season: citrus-cool it backstroked the
or perhaps it was me the orange tightness of my breasts as if suns as if
octopus were stretching them sore.
or perhaps all: light, season, body made that woman's children with
their flailing-sausage arms look pretty to me.
i had my back to you. could we? i said i talked wider than the Pacific
footloose and hungry and with a spoon-eyed desperation that you'd
already conquered. i don't know, you said, i can't answer
that, i just don't know.
your mouth rested at the top of my spine.
the girl before me wanted to talk. I turned my face into your beard and
held it with my teeth,
later, we saw her knees triangle as if kicked from behind.
your beard turned white.
and then it was my turn.
nobody tells you about the cleaning.
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