1. Cleaning is actually not possible. All you are doing is moving dirt from one place to another, but you are never eradicating the dirt, as you sweep, as you vacuum, as you wipe down the stove. You are just moving it. This bothers you.

2. You begin to fantasize about moving the dirt differently. For instance, taking your sweepings and depositing them under a neighbor’s car, or in the park, or hiding them inside plastic Easter eggs and leaving them in the bushes. Perhaps this is simply because you have a degree in graphic design, but if your life is to be wasted in the relocation of dirt, you want to become an artist, a true innovator in your field.

3. Is there a set amount of dirt? Is it like matter or energy, unable to be created or destroyed? You aren’t sure. You put fruit and vegetables in the baby, and poop comes out. The baby is creating filth. But why? What does it signify about life that life is constantly making poop, and why are we so terrified to admit this? Half your life is spent hiding the dirt, the poop, the mess. You clean toilets, sinks, noses and ears, assholes — oh are you ever tired of wiping your kids’ assholes. Sometimes you force the three-year-old to do it himself, but he is so bad at it that you always take pity on him in the end.

4. Once, when your three-year-old was pooping, he got an erection and started tugging on it and said, “Tell me about girls.” Not wanting to assume this was going in such an alarming direction, you asked, “What about girls?” “Tell me about boobies,” he answered. Who would have guessed it all came pre-wired-up like that? You would have thought it happened over time, during puberty, through exposure to pornography and who knows what. But no, men come preloaded as if their sexuality were an Operating System.

5. Sometimes you just give up and lie on the floor and let your children hit you with toys.

6. This period in your life will not last forever. In fact, it can’t. You look at the baby’s chubby face and you wish it would last forever, even though you are on the verge of some kind of break.

7. When your children really piss you off, usually around 5 pm, you just start throwing away their toys. Not the big ones, just all the little stupid shit, the goodie-bag garbage that floods yours life: spinning tops and pencil toppers, foam balls to a gun that broke, plastic dinosaurs no one has ever played with for a single second after they were out of the package. You are living in a tidal wave of tiny plastic replicas of real objects: small, hollow fruit, Playmobil guns the size of a fingernail, a multitude of animal forms, rigid or soft, squeaking or silent, an entire reproduction of the world has been created and then thrown into chaos inside of your house.

8. It is a temple. That seems so clear, late at night, as you look at your sleeping children and sleeping husband, their soft flesh exposed in the blue light of the TV as you stay up eating hidden chocolate, drinking vodka, and watching Chelsea Handler. You are the priestess of some kind of strange life/shit, world/chaos temple, and the trash is holy, and the flesh is holy, and the poop is holy, and even your ravings are holy, holy, holy.

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Rufi Thorpe’s new novel Dear Fang, With Love
is available at your nearest bookseller.