FLOORWAX MOTHER by Harryette Mullen.

My mother warned me I’d perish in dirt:
Girl, how you going to take care of a filthy man
when you got so many nasty habits yourself?
Ambition don’t make you immune to the facts of life.
Ask me, you do too much dreaming and scheming and not nearly enough cleaning.

Let me tell you, honey, even career women have to
wipe their man’s pee off the toilet seat before they sit down.
You got to get realistic one of these days,
or do you think you going to
paint finger pictures in grimy window panes,
grow gardens under gritty fingernails,
practice broad-jumping the length of the un-swept hall
with a pile of dirty laundry to cushion your landing,
and raise bacteria cultures for research on greasy kitchen plates?
Girl, don’t you know men’s mammas tell them stuff like:
Look under a woman’s bed to see if there’s dust
so you’ll know if she’d make a bad wife.

Mama, don’t let me get ugly now, but if I let a man into my bedroom it ain’t going to be so he can check for dust.
And any man I catch looking under the bed,
I’ll send him right back to his floorwax mother….

Category: Family,