Housework

These are the sheets I fold,
fresh from the wash and smelling like sugar.
White, like the smooth creamy skin I will yearn for
long after my own is a riot of cherry-blossoms and dragons.

I do the ironing in the blue flicker of late-night TV
and build a staircase of fresh clothes.
And while I do, I think of the curve between shoulder and neck;
arcs of bone and sweeps of skin I cannot touch.

I open the dishwasher in a billow of steam,
different from the greyish curlicues I exhale.
While I pile plates and swirl tea-towels in glasses,
I think of the lips I will kiss in sin.

My brother, bent over the fresh laundry to sort it by owner,
excavates pockets for forgotten paramours in plastic baggies.
While I fold crisp ten pound notes and pass them as he goes out
so he will bring me back those same lovers to fog my mind.

We will take in waifs and strays under my parents' roof
and house guttersnipes in our beds.
We will bring drugs into the house where my mother sleeps safely.
I will feel heartache for the girl with pale skin.
This the work we will do to dirty our house again.