By Maura Stanton
Featured Art: Stowing Sail by Winslow Homer
Whoops! He was afraid this was going to happen. He’s been sucked up. The strong wind pulls him in against the stiff fringe of the brush attachment, where he gasps and tangles with bits of debris, strands of hair, crumbs, dust bunnies, specks, soot, and flecks of dander. The brush is swiped across the carpet, freeing him from the tough indifferent bristles. He flies up the silver tube, but since he’s heavier than the rest of the grime, he gets to catch his breath at the bend, pinned against the cold metal until he’s slapped free by a dancing paper clip. Swoop! Suck! Up he goes into the flexible plastic hose. Now and then he catches on the accordion folds, but the air is warmer now, and he feels himself being pulled closer and closer to the engine thrumming in the center. Why, this isn’t so bad. He almost feels excited as he approaches his destination, the special paper bag fitted inside the machine where all the dirt in the house congregates. And then he’s in! He’s dragged through the opening. It’s all over. There’s nothing to do but make a cozy nest in the mound of familiar filth.
Maura Stanton’s work has appeared recently in Ecotone, The Antioch Review, The New England Review, River Styx, Bateau, Plume, and Poetry East. Immortal Sofa, her sixth book of poetry, was published by the University of Illinois Press in 2008.
Piece originally published in NOR 13.