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Cleanliness is next to godliness

by Nin Andrews

Southern Comfort Cleanliness is next to godliness
Grandma always said.
Most days she met me at the screen door
with a feather duster 
or our new Electrolux vacuum, 
the hose sucking my blouse.  
She said she liked her girls clean. 
She said I was coated 
with dog hairs, horse hairs, 
and God only knows what all else. 
Fixing me like a flower bouquet, 
tucking in my blouse, fluffing my bangs 
and adjusting my barrettes, 
she'd stare me down just to let me know 
I was allowed in only if she said so.

From Southern Comfort by Nin Andrews. Copyright © 2010 by Nin Andrews. Used by permission of Cavenkerry Press.
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