All week she’s cleaned
someone else’s house,
stared down her own face
in the shine of copper–
bottomed pots, polished
wood, toilets she’d pull
the lid to–that look saying

Let’s make a change, girl.

But Sunday mornings are hers–
church clothes starched
and hanging, a record spinning
on the console, the whole house
dancing. She raises the shades,
washes the rooms in light,
buckets of water, Octagon soap.

Cleanliness is next to godliness …

Windows and doors flung wide,
curtains two-stepping
forward and back, neck bones
bumping in the pot, a choir
of clothes clapping on the line.

Nearer my God to Thee …

She beats time on the rugs,
blows dust from the broom
like dandelion spores, each one
a wish for something better.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Natasha Trethewey's poem Domestic Work, 1937

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by Natasha Trethewey better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.