by Cornelia Rohde

In the moons of crayfish season,
when the smack boats trawl the
Grand Bahama Bank,
the island women shut their
doors and windows, and grow
desperately close to Mr. Clean:
cling to Pinesol, squeeze the Lysol,
Mop and Glo linoleum,
gush Windex, stroke surfaces
with paper towels in fathoms,
scour walls, ceilings, and
their teeth,
mist Febreeze into moaning wind.
The only Tide they notice makes
suds rise in the washer.

After sand is swept from
every crack and corner,
every toenail trimmed and polished,
every kid slapped twenty times,
Mona’s reputation ruined,
and Norma down with vapours,
at last—
the fishermen ease up the creek,
holds filled with tender tails.
Their eyes fish for their women
on the dock,
to drift through violet twilight water,
in the lazy flip flop of the sea,
slip barefoot into sunup,
hips rolling silky swells, content
to loll at anchor,
while sea breezes freshen up their houses.


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