by Margaret Scott

I don’t much like cleaning windows. Ladders wobble.
You can get mugged by buckets. Upper windows
gleam when I’m twelve feet up but look worse
than before they were washed when I’ve clambered down.
You can see both sides at once—the liberal dilemma—
so it’s often hard to decide what’s splashed the glass—
soup or a passing bird. I feel watched by
opponents of aerosol cans, by consciousness-raisers,
by looming aproned figures from childhood,
by al those sparkling television girls
who show the smiling easy way to clean.
I can be brisk, keeping my mind on the job,
or switch my hand to on and watch the sky.
I can brood on reading the signs, on whether
it’s healthier to reflect or concentrate.
In any case the smears show up at night
and there in the darkened glass that shape again,
that anti-heroine, that dismal clown with the
oh-so-predictable foot in a bucket of suds,
the yell from the teetering ladder, the comical angst.