Polishing Stars

My mother believed in the strength of labor
over love, she’d torture each microbe, disappear dust
on two bent knees bearing down on a faux marble floor.

And when it was scrubbed beyond question,
past reason, she’d call Su-san, handing me a faded rag
and ancient tin of something cool as resin:

A blue-green glaze o brush across the burnished rays
of copper shooting out beneath the breakfast bar;

at four, I played a worker cursing the ravaged stars.

:: Susan Rich, Cures Include Travel (2006)

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