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Clean Houses

As in a mirror

Your face steadily there

The magic of a clean house is

It is and will not appear

No one can see into it

Although the chair is here

The rug is here yet it

Resists, does not appear

Even family framed in photos

Something’s always gone

Something’s left to which

You cannot respond

Children, say, or their shadows

Gathered by a lake

What was the name

Canandaigua? And then that’s clear

As a refrain is clear

Rising toward you who listen

Closely in houses

That do not appear

from Clean

Copyright © Persea Books 2011
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Published in Kate Northrop Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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