I’m going to clean the apartment, today, I say to no one
I walk from room to room in my pajamas.
The cats follow.
I’m going to clean the apartment today, I tell them.
One of them runs away, the other just meows at me.
She doesn’t believe me.
I wander from room to room, stopping to wipe
stray cat litter off my feet.
I stare at the piles of books and papers, the chicken scratch writing.
I watch small bits of errant cat hair slide over the desert floor.
But I am. I’m going to get everything up and clean.
I’m going to scrub the floor,
the walls, the ceiling. Everything.
All the clothes will be washed,
the dishes sparkling.
It will be like a new place.
and then when I’m done,
I’m going to push the books out the window
and then the pictures and paintings.
I’m going to hurl every dish we own out onto 75th street
and listen to cars run them over with a satisfying crunch.
Then our bed, our dresser, everything. Last the couch.
I’m going to leave everything sitting on the sidewalk
and close up the windows.
Then I can lay down on the cool floor,
in an empty apartment
and try not to think about the next couple of months.
The dark space that is the fall.
Afterwards, I’m going to write this poem.
And I’m going to send it to you.
Or at least I would, if I could find any paper.
Ally Malinenko is the author of The Wanting Bone (Six Gallery Press). Her second book of poems entitled Crashing to Earth is forthcoming from Tainted Coffee Press and her first novel for children, Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb is forthcoming from Antenna Press. She currently lives in the part of Brooklyn the tour buses don't come to and rambles on and on over at allymalinenko.com