stain my fresh t-shirt –
streaks of soft red and blue.
What on earth made me think
white was a good idea?
Small blue chairs scattered around;
dinosaurs and dolls like fallen soldiers.
Toys to disinfect, crayons on tables,
papers to sort, bathrooms to scrub.
There are wounded knees to mend,
puzzles to complete, stories to tell.
Everyday I clean –
and yet it is still so dirty here
The smell of bleach
makes my head start to buzz.
I wipe the children’s filthy hands and faces;
they draw me pictures; I smile.
Heavy red scribbles the boys claim
are dinosaurs and their pet dogs.
Their lines on the table –
more to clean.
A small hand pulls me away;
the cleaning will have to wait.
– December 2005 –