Throwing the Vacuum Cleaner Away

Broken belt, motor char, half-chewed cord – 
this mechanical pal must go.
Ten years of sucking up bits of my life. 

Hair. Dead ants. Crushed chips, fingernails, 
things that fell off
particles of whole
pieces of years – 
cycled through that belly. 

Secrets, mistakes. Solid & ephemeral.
I liked to watch them disappear from walls and floor. 

It made rooms fresh, a guard of my good name
with its tidy blue frame and eerie light. 

Specks of some ex-lovers hang on, clinging
to the rolling brush, hanging in the hose. 

As it heads to the rented trash box
I’m thinking, Oh- 
the willingness of the mouth
the luxury of discard. 

Patricia Bollin serves as board chair of Soapstone, a non-profit in Oregon, dedicated to supporting women’s writing since 1998. She recently retired as program officer for AmeriCorps in Oregon. Her poetry has appeared in print and on-line publications including: The Fourth River, Tulane Review, Mezzo Cammin, Oregon Literary Review and will be included in the forthcoming anthology Footbridge Above The Falls.