Domestic Policy

By Amy Lemmon

Peanut butter coats three of the good spoons;
a quarter-inch of cold Earl Grey stains the white insides
of my favorite mug; laundry multiplies daily
in the dark hutch of a closet.

These are the details without a speck of God,
demons poised to spike the holiest union.

Tonight, tomorrow, this weekend, you promise you'll relieve
the bathroom floor of its cape of shed hair,
wrestle the laundry into a gleaming, soapy turbine.

In the seventies, you could get a "round tuit" from the Miles Kimball catalog.
Picture the Dagwood husband snoring cartoon Zs on the couch
at Christmas, his wife and kids waking him to find the whimsical plastic disk
in his frayed and faded red stocking. "For all those things
you say you're going to do when you get around to it."
They grin as he blinks, smiles sheepishly.

While I thumbed through catalogs, my parents worked
as General Distributors for the Bestline Soap pyramid.
they sold a viscous pink liquid that would dissolve
the very Crisco they smeared on their hands to demonstrate.

Although its acrid smell made me long for Ivory
in the bath, it made a decent lather.
Too bad they don't make it anymore —
we could use some, fill the sink with bubbles for a change.

Surely Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie
never squabbled with a spouse over dirty dishes.
When the road called,
they had to go,
so they up and went.

But why should we have to choose fight or flight?
Why not just live in the gritty cracks between,
if we're lucky, for years and dusty years,
through dishes, grime, and yes, the laundromat,
our underwear tumbling together over and over.
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About Amy Lemmon

Amy Lemmon is the author of the poetry collections Fine Motor (Sow's Ear Poetry Press, 2008) and Saint Nobody (Red Hen Press, 2009). Her work appears in Rolling Stone, Verse, Prairie Schooner, New Letters, Barrow Street, Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere. Selections from ABBA: The Poems, written in collaboration with Denise Duhamel, appear in print and at la fovea.  Amy is Poetry Editor of Ducts and Associate Professor of English at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology.

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