Teenager in Charge

Away for a week,
I return to the house after dark
relieved to be back in my orderly house

where the surface-neat living room
provides a deceptive veneer
for what lies in wait:

bathtub slicked with conditioner and shampoo,
long hairs stuck to the sink,
crumpled clothes on the stairs;

electric burner ablaze beneath a dry kettle,
grease that spatters the stove,
food stuck to plates around the TV;

garbage bags spilling their guts,
ashtrays unemptied,
both dogs sleeping on my new couch.

I scrub, polish, soak, stack and rinse.
I dust, vacuum, sweep,
and lie awake until daylight

reveals a basement dotted with dogshit,
still-damp wrinkled clothes in the dryer,
trash lids frozen to unshoveled walkway.

And find this: Welcome home, Mom.
Hope you had a wonderful trip.
Can’t wait to hear all about it.

Love, Me.