Your Daily Poem: Natasha Trethewey

Ed. note: For National Poetry Month, we’re highlighting one feminist poem each day in April. See the whole series here.

Your poem of the day is from the current Poet Laureate of the United States, Natasha Trethewey.

Domestic Work, 1937

All week she’s cleaned
someone else’s house,
stared down her own face
in the shine of copper-
bottomed pots, polished
wood, toilets she’d pull
the lid to–that look saying

Let’s make a change, girl.

But Sunday mornings are hers–
church clothes starched
and hanging, a record spinning
on the console, the whole house
dancing. She raises the shades,
washes the rooms in light,
buckets of water, Octagon soap.

Cleanliness is next to godliness …

Windows and doors flung wide,
curtains two-stepping
forward and back, neck bones
bumping in the pot, a choir
of clothes clapping on the line.

Nearer my God to Thee …

She beats time on the rugs,
blows dust from the broom
like dandelion spores, each one
a wish for something better.

From Domestic Work, 1999. Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minn.

sm-bio Syreeta McFadden is a co-curator of Poets In Unexpected Places.

SYREETA MCFADDEN is a Brooklyn based writer, photographer and adjunct professor of English. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, Religion Dispatches and Storyscape Journal. She is the managing editor of the online literary magazine, Union Station, and a co-curator of Poets in Unexpected Places. You can follow her on Twitter @reetamac.

Read more about Syreeta

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