soap and water

Wash your hands. Over and over again. Until they shine and sparkle. Until the dirt fades away from between the whorls and the ink mark tattoos begin to lighten. When the scent of soap fills the air and it feels good and clean. Even then, keep washing. Until you can hear a squeak when you rub finger against thumb. Until fingers get damp inside out and begin to shrivel and prune. Until your nails recede into the flesh, burying themselves under the cuticles. Until palms begin to whiten and then flake. Until the blood within scurries back into the safety of the veins in your wrists. Until your hands turn raw with soap. Until it hurts for water to run over it. Until it hurts so much you can’t take anymore. Until you just have to stop because you have to. You just have to. Stop.

Soap and water
take the day from my hand
scrub the salt from my stinging skin
slip me loose of this wedding band

Soap and water
hang my heart on the line
scour it down in a wind of sand
bleach it clean to a vinegar shine

Soap and water
wash the year from my life
straighten all that we trampled and tore
heal the cut we call husband and wife

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