THE SWEEPER He came to us one day in all his grimness To purge the hardened tar that crimped our chimney. He came to us as if a silhouette. Grumbling greetings, he unlatched his kit Of grips and metal bits with wire meshes, And screwed in place the mother of all brushes. He dragged out from a plastic sack his hide For inside, harsh with char, and pulled its hood Up on his head to shinny into darkness. We hung a sheet to claim the fire’s carcass, Around the flame-devouring mouth of hearth That spat the felled dismemberings of his art. He plied his scrubber like a metal mole Sounding out the measure of his hole. We were relieved to listen to the bristles Grate old winter nights’ combusted dust, All that was left of bonds to soothe our sores. We loved to hear the slough of spent desires. His mouth still blind to words, the man pulled free His head from all that past. An unclogged flue Is a freed soul, he seemed begrudgingly To grant, and scrunched his brush to pure potential.