Cleaning Vows

“Cleaning Maid”, “Locust Men” and “Creative Vows”

In Poetry by Maggie Hess

Cleaning Maid

Outside I know the silhouettes of branches clog
like tiny stick men against the night sky
but it is dark so I’m relying on memories
and thoughts that if someone cut down
my locust trees I would go retrieve the little twig men.

There are the things obvious to us
and then there is the subconscious
like a dream I had last night where I was called
into the office in graduate school
and the president said he planned to hire me as his cleaning maid,

and did I know what that would look like,
the cute little black and white suit I’d be pulling my ass into?
And I just stared back at him
but I really wanted the program
so I asked if I could listen to books on tape while sweeping up after him.

On the near side of my mind
I’ve been fighting not to get a cold.
Most people really have a way to know
if their immune system is low.
So I’ve been eating frozen orange concentrate like medicine.

Maybe the little silhouettes inside of my digestive system
or my nasal canal or my ear canal
are dancing around trying to save themselves
or hoping to be remembered
if the someone cuts them down.


Locust Men

Every morning the world is blank again,
letters form like little dancing beings against the sky
out in the foreground the locust men,
silhouette creatures without hips or breasts,
and the song of some dog munching
and lapping and panting and sniffing and smacking;
another person in another room
flushing and rushing and clearing her throat,
putting back her head
like another bird launching high
eating a drop of rain falling like love,
dogs walking in a comforting way
doing what they do
bringing their person joy just relieving themselves.


Creative Vows

There were two houses
in two lands
with two rooms
and two walls
and two expressions.

One very easy to capture
in words-
the blank slate white paint
upon white paint
(at regular intervals).

Nothing to comment upon
just perfection
consistent as isles in big box store
their dreams as uniform
as predictable toy armies.

The other house
was a bit scattered,
garbled, paint cans still out
from creative attempts
spattered upon the walls.

Cut out pictures, famous portraits
collages of dreams
sketches of cats
piles of art
slapped half hazard.

The difference between the two houses
where nothing was ever made in the house of ivory,
the house of art and writing
made a promise to make something new each day
so that something good might come of it.

Lest that once or twice
in all these
garbled stanzas
they’d find a place
for poetry.

And these were some of the words peeled back behind the tape.

About the Author

Maggie Hess

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32 poems of Maggie Hess have appeared in print including Friends Journal, Blue Fifth Review, A! Magazine, Skyhorse, Tule, Alehouse, Postcard Poems and Prose, Carilion, Dos Gatos, Inner Art, Cobalt Review, Haikuniverse, S/tick, Encircle, TL Publishing Group LLC, and Visitant. Maggie won the Leidig Poetry Award and the May B Smith writing award and has self published numerous chapbooks.