cleaning my apartment at 2:37am

crop person with yellow bottle with detergent
Photo by Anna Shvets on

I can’t sleep between sheets, hot with the day

That tugged at my nerves until they were raw,

And so I will find myself on hands and knees,

Between plastic bottles and buckets that slop

With steaming hot water, smelling of bleach.

Scrubbing at marks that hardly exist,

In the desperate hope that it washes away

The unfortunate pain of a world is mad

With perfection and abundance, unattainable to you.

You wipe and you dust, thinking it helps

Spraying those bottles scented with lemon

And hoovering powders from thick, shaggy carpets.

You can clean and make tidy, but never it changes

That the raw disinfectant that eats at your skin

And eats into night hours at 2:37;

It won’t clean away the spots and the blemishes

Clouding the life that keeps you awake.

Better to sleep and rinse out the brain,

Tangled in sheets, unwashed and creased.

5 thoughts on “cleaning my apartment at 2:37am

  1. Margot Kinberg

    I think people have all sorts of ways of coping with those 2:00 AM monsters, Rachel. Getting a good night’s sleep would be a lot healthier, but that doesn’t always happen. And if you’re going to be ‘battling monsters,’ I suppose cleaning isn’t the most self-destructive thing you could do.

  2. clcouch123

    Hmm, I was washing dishes in the middle of this past night. Forsaking the fall-back from Daylight Saving Time as well. I know I should have been sleeping or trying, but I wasn’t. Now I’m tired. Still here but tired.

    Well-expressed middle-of-the-night description!

  3. Cheryl, Gulf Coast Poet

    I have read several of your posts. Teaching does have its ups and downs. Maybe you would enjoy some anecdotes on my website, “Gulf Coast Poet.” If you are are interested, click” Stories of a Retired Teacher.” on the website menu.

    All the best! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.