The American Dream Visits While I Clean
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It wasn’t part of me, only something I listened to,
like radio music or dialogue on the evening news.
I was cleaning the bathroom. I thought of nothing,
really, while I watched my hands move. It spoke
from the paint peeling on the bathroom ceiling
and the moisture on the windows turning
the wood black. It spoke through the stains
I couldn’t clear and caulk loosening at the tub’s edge.
It sat on the edge of the tub and recalled my past:
a broken down car that couldn’t get me home
and meals of hot dogs every night of the week.
Sunlight sharpened the room and revealed
spots on the fixtures. A cat waltzed in
and threw the light back on itself, his hair
clinging to the wet tub. The dream didn’t
notice that I wiped the surface clean again.
It stayed where it was and talked of nothing,
really, like dreams do.
-Julie Brooks Barbour
Julie Brooks Barbour is the author of the chapbook Come To Me and Drink (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Her poems have appeared in Waccamaw, Kestrel, UCity Review, diode, Prime Number Magazine, Blood Lotus, storySouth, Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, and on Verse Daily. She teaches at Lake Superior State University where she is co-editor of the journal Border Crossing.