Literary Yard

Search for meaning

‘Coming Clean’ and other poems

By: J.K. Durick

Coming Clean

Cleaning up is easy to do
We know the basics
Almost by instinct.
Things are put back
Where they belong or
Where we think they belong.
Then trying to strike a balance
We arrange objects
Straighten the pictures
Rearrange the statues
Pluck out the dead flowers
Inspect and review
Tinker and tuck
Scrape and scrub.
Tasks line up
One follows naturally from
Suggest themselves
Move us along
Eventually to vacuum
Inevitably to mop
Then stop
Before the windows
Cast their shadows
Then haunt us into
Squeegee and cloth
And at least another hour
With this
Cleaning up the mess
We ourselves made.



To rebuild, to replace
We first dismantle.
The sum of the parts
Become pieces
Strewn about
Doors and drawers
Screws unscrewed
Hinges unhinged.
The beginning and the end
Like this will blend.
To replace in this case
Means piles of parts
Are moved out
Loaded on the truck
For their last ride.
The replacements arrive
Get unboxed
Measured and installed
Shaped and painted
Made to fit.
Now they are the new sum
Of the parts
As they change the shape of
The space they are meant
To fill
Make it all feel new
For now.


Reading Prose

And sometimes when I turn a page, it
flops back and I read it over again
wondering why the author repeated
the scene or description. Other times
pages stick together and I then end
up skipping over whole scene, the lead-
in would jump to just after, and I’d sit
there wondering how that could happen,
where did, what did, and/or who did or
who didn’t follow through with that plan.
After all that I’ve come to think that novels
work that way, repeat things just to fill up
pages or skip whole scenes because in all
those pages the author has time and space
to make up to the reader and go back over
missed details or explain why certain times
repetition was worth the effort. There were
even times when I lost my bookmark, fallen
out somewhere in my travels, and I couldn’t,
for the life of me and the story, couldn’t find
my place again and I’d start over or just plunk
down on page whatever and hope that I could
catch up with the story or it would catch up
with me – the stories rarely cared about my in-
attention, would continue on and get to a last
page and end whether I was on board or still
limping along, saying something like, “hey,
what the hell just happened.”


  1. A pleasure reading these poems with such simple themes still grabbing the attention of the reader. It leaves the reader with a smile & an unknown joy of relating to such situations in the reader’s life too.
    Thx Durick.

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