Vacuums

Housewives like to chase me with vacuum cleaners

This time it’s my sister
She doesn’t mean anything by it
Just cleaning because
Cleaning gives life meaning
Which is more than I can say for me
In terms of purpose and sometimes cleanliness

All this cleansing rain
Insane-making by day
Dreamy by night

There was another housewife
(there have been a few)
Who manic, chasing meaning
Drove me from her house
Her vacuum nipping at my heels

She and her husband were once my friends
Swingers who threw erotic dinner parties
Tongues on flesh
Baked garlic on french bread
Red wine and brie

Waking from such nights was always hard for me
I could spend all day in bed
Nursing hangover, dreaming, moving the pen
But for the vacuum

My friends’ house was a faerie tale castle
All minstrel and myth and madness
It was fantastic really, a Shakespearian dream
Maybe the vacuum died
I don’t know

For one night the wife
On hands and knees
Hoovered a hundred Xanax
And the castle
Left unvacuumed
Ate itself

Who could remember
All the vacuums that
Consciously or unconsciously
Have rousted me from sleep (a misdemeanor)
Or writing (a felony)

I do remember well however
The day Anna in full hausfrau mode
(Flipped from previous night’s debauch)
Blasted me out of bed with
Her screaming cleaning machine

Any vacuum salesman would agree
A good vacuum will do far more than sweep debris
A vacuum’s roar will stifle great heaving sobs
Even suck up screams in screeching solidarity

Science tells us
Nature abhors a vacuum
I’m not too fond of them either

But given the chance to go back in time
I wouldn’t run from Anna’s vacuum that day
Instead I’d pull the poor women into bed with me
And with the flick of a switch
Remove the scream of desperation from the air
Change the tone
Make it a moan

Give the woman some small reason to go on
More, I imagine, than a vacuum can

For a little while anyway.

© Rick McKinney Dec 17, 2008

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