And Then We Pray...

By A.R. Woodard//

We mopped it up. Soapy, sudsy, sturdy.
We polished it. Til it shined brand and new.
When it was almost clean enough to share
we stared upon our reflections.
...and then, we pray.

The bleach cleaned clothes hid our sins.
Masked the tears and the trauma.
And while we dressed the lie
The demons lurked.
...and then, we pray.

We cleaned and sprayed
Washed and mopped.
We straightened and dusted.
Spit and shined.
Our arms were tired and our necks sore.
Not once questioning what we do this for.

Never do we heal.
Nor do we talk.
Only clean. Only cry.
Only clean to only die.

And when death comes to collect us
In our ragged house
With our stained clothing
By our dusty cabinets
On our dirty floors.
We’ll know we prayed...

...and nothing more.