Cleaning House

by Elizabeth Cox

If you've ever cleaned house because a death is coming,
you know it's the same as any other kind of cleaning.
Wipe the tables.
Pick up the floor.
Sweep the crumbs under the carpet.
For later.
And for the ants.
It's different, too.
Because you're floating.
On caffeine.
On muffled sympathies.
On the hum of voices in other rooms.
Set pieces start and stall between visits to the cleaning cupboard,
8 millimeter memories jerk and wave.
And, more than usual, the smell of Windex blends with thoughts of the meaning of existence.
Race to catch the drips.