Cleaning the Living Room*

The dust hovers
unsettled in the sunlight
threatening to land
on the patterned grains
of tables at rest.

I observe the suspension
of noise, remembering the
buzzing, rising, howling,

The children are gone.

It is time
to put things in order.
Restack the books,
ensconce the trinkets to
their pride of place,
lay out the careful pages
of precious books
too fragile for the 3 year old.

I ponder - is it time?
Time to clear the shelves,
store the volumes,
the puzzles, the blocks,
the at-hand playthings
that entertain?
Their visits are so seldom now--
we might not need these
simple supplies of childhood.

I notice I'm moving materials,
organizing, streamlining, rearranging,
but there is more being handled
than just the objects of my

Something is being made anew in me,
a chapter of change
on the inside
where 'within' will
be the work at hand,
moving the 'furniture',
changing the view
from the inside out.

Maybe it's time to take back this space
and return it to its rightful owners,
make room for the youthful visitors
as guests (not takeover artists :-).

Yes, I think I'll clean my living room.
'clean'--there's that word again. (see my previous post for the New Year.)
Linking with dVerse Poets for Open Link night.

(p.s. I love my children and their children. Really I do.)


  1. Lovely metaphor... cleaning from the inside out is a long process... kids certainly give us a reason to.

  2. mmm...nice...smooth transition as well from the children gone and changing up the house to where the real work is done in our lives...which is on the inside...nice...

  3. I've always felt a good clearout, or even just changing the pictures on the walls, has spiritual side effects. Happens left often as we get older - but probably more significant too! I love the atmospheric start to this poem.

  4. Love my kids too...but ooh how nice it is when the house is 'clean'! Nicely done Jody :-)

  5. I'm borderline OCD when it comes to cleaning, so I could relate to this. This is my first time reading your work & I enjoyed it. I love what you said in your bio!