Spring Cleaning
 Yvonne Chism-Peace

Brown sparrows chirp. Hop along back porch stairs. Damp.  Peck at bread crumbs. Soggy. Watch out for cat! Grey shadow out of nowhere. Nobody's pet.   Standing at kitchen window. A moment longer. Narrow strip of sun on the ledge. Daffodil yellow paint from a tube. Tulips gone. Can tiger lilies be far behind? Squeezing summer out of gray spring morning.   Dentist at eleven. Half hour on bus. Something I need to do first. Post office? Pharmacy? Check bag. It'll jog my mind.   Black leather tote. On floor by telephone. Uwww! Goodness, what could be inside? Lug to sofa. No, don't dump it here. March back to kitchen, slam-- uww!-- on counter-- uwww!-- Goodness! What a hulk! Unzip-- careful-- Better look before I grope.  


 Better get organized!    

 Separate leather from paper. Paper from plastic. Plastic from metal. Metal from edibles. Edibles from recyclables.  

  Wallet, keys. Jumbo mirror. Jumbo comb and brush. Jumbo aspirin? For phantom PMS? Retainer case. Bifocals case. Cosmetics case-- nothing but eye drops and lip balm. Calcium pills. Vitamins for creeping hairline. A roll of quarters--no roaming cell phone bills for me. Bible pamphlets--they're lighter than paperbacks. Can I come up for air?   A year's worth of expired Philly transpasses? Oh, yes, they keep Chubby quiet on the bus. Coffee club cards from all the competition. I'm a frequent flyer with no loyalties. Chinese take-out menus. Coupons. Hmmm--the frozen gourmet dinners look suspicious. Marigold seeds. Free with a crate of bottled water?    

    Uwwwww!... Let's straighten up a minute-- feeling like a smashed corn chip... Ahhhhh...    

 Let's see--Napkins from assorted fast food chains. Ketchup and mustard packets. How many? A dozen packets each. Sugar substitutes. Ten packets. Three containers of cream.  Goodness! If I didn't know myself better, I'd call the cops. But fast food girls and boys dump them in without asking. Along with the chicken fingers and French fries. Give tons of sweetener for extra small cups of coffee. And what to do with the creamers I didn't open? Put them back? Leave garbage on the table? I can hear my momma. Nice people don't throw food away.   The bottom. At last! Not yet. Plastic bags. About a dozen. Neatly folded. From every Dollar Shop between Independence Hall and my front door. Well, waste not, want not. True in any century--Wait!    

 Wait! Where is my mind? Black leather in the month of May? I was raised better. But where did I pack away my white one?     

Check watch. Ten fifty-five! My dentist at eleven!    

  Goodness, maybe I do need that jumbo aspirin bottle.

First published: August 2005
comments to the writer: Knob'sWriter@iceflow.com