sooty hands

As soon as all the work was done, I booked
the window washing and the maintenance
my fireplace deserves. The unit looked
as usual – I never had the sense
of something off. The ceiling fan was on.
Was that the cause? I didn’t see the soot,
until I chanced to note each blackened palm,
which made me check the bottom of each foot.

Contaminating floors with every step,
I amplified the mess to ascertain
its limits, and for hours then I checked
and scrubbed or vacuumed, struggling to maintain
composure, surface finish, and a black
sense of the humor in a soot attack.

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