16 August 2011 ~ 0 Comments

“That Woman Who Comes to Clean”

That woman who comes to clean
What do you know about her?
She’s just the woman who enters your office after hours
Leaving your office nice and clean for the next business day.

That woman who comes to clean
Washes your urinals and toilets
Dusts your tables and desks
Vacuums your rugs and carpets
Mops your floors and tiles
Throws away your waste and garbage
Recycles your empty cans and bottles.

That woman who comes to clean
Her torn hands tremble with age
Her weary eyes reflect a deep pain
Her shoulders slump with the weight
of responsibilities too huge for her to handle
Her bones ache from the laborious tasks
Her breath comes out in short spurts
She sneezes and wheezes
The toxic smell of cleaning chemicals
constantly invade her nostrils.

That woman who comes to clean
She works diligently without complaints, without asking for a pay raise.
Hands you a “Thank You” note and a bottle of wine during the holidays,
Hoping you would not notice how she has slowed down over the years,
Fearing that you may take advantage of the fact that she is a woman
working in dark and dangerous places after hours,
Worrying about whether you would fire her when you find out how ill she is,
Praying that you would just let her keep her job.

That woman who comes to clean
She drives a pickup truck
from one door to the next
making your living environment
clean and habitable
for next to nothing in return.

That woman who comes to clean
She’s my mother.

I’m supposed to be brushing up on legal writing samples for job interviews this week but I had to get this out after someone referred to my mom as “the woman who comes to clean” in an email. I hope everyone takes the time to get to know their maids, janitors and other service-workers and treat them like human beings who deserve respect beyond “the woman who comes to clean.”

For more, read Angy’s Immigrant Mani Pedi.

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