I love the early morning before you decide the house needs cleaning,
our bodies languid, blind to the messes we’d made all week,
legs a cat’s cradle under the duvet like
they’d always been this inseparable. We will
rise for breakfast, and soon enough
the drill sergeant that lives inside of you will eye the countertop
and its flecked remainders – and now
a velocity will gather steam – my second coffee half-drunk,
a driblet of butter on my upper lip – you will drop a clutch of rags
near a trio of cutting boards and the canister
of gifted granola. The bowl of birthday Starbursts
will turn garish in the morning’s slash of sun, the floor
islanded with pet hair and sauce. It’s too early
of course, but the beast is already here, one monstrous hand
on the broom closet door, the other pointing brutally
at the teeter-totter in the dish rack, two bread loaves
molding identically in a basket beside a collision of garlic cloves.
Even the knives look embarrassed, pointing at each other
in mutual accusation. How have we gotten here?
we ask ourselves in razored silence, each coiling
in a separate shame. Hadn’t we
survived the post-collegiate chore wheels,
the empty rolls of toilet paper and low puddles of milk
inside orphaned bowls of cereal? Wasn’t our spillage
far in the rearview mirror? “I hate us.” you say,
bending under the sink for a new yellow sponge,
and I gather up the loose stacks on the dining room table
in a twin burst of loathing. Later, our floors smelling of
artificial pine, we’ll pretend this is the last time
we’ll be this neglectful, toasting to our labors
in glasses we will find on the windowsill
two days later.

maya stein
Maya Stein is a Ninja poet, writing guide and creative adventuress. She has been a freelance writer and editor for more than 20 years and has self-published five books along with a handful of writing prompt booklets. Her latest books are “Grief Becomes You,” a collection of writings and photographs on the subject of loss from more than 60 contributors, and “The Poser: 38 Portraits Reimagined,” a full-color coffee table book of contemporary portrait re-enactments.
Maya facilitates workshops and retreats, live and online, and also works one-on-one with people interested in deepening their creative practice and bringing new work to fruition.
After a 7-year stint in suburban New Jersey, she is now happily ensconced in the wilds of mid-coast Maine in a house named Toad Hall.
You can connect with Maya on her website.

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