I will bleach it all away for you
I whisper, she cannot hear me above
the sound of her own scrubbing.
Sweat beading and falling, undoing
all the work needed to
I want to fix this for you in some
small way, annihilate the
invisible intruders and put you to
bed, allow you to rest if only a single
second before you take on the
imaginary parasites once more.
I only ever needed you to tell
me that men were more than molecules
biding time on the handles of doors,
or in the trace of grease along a surface of
counter space, vast and empty
between the coffee pot and crumb-ridden toaster.
But it was not your style, to give
credit to all the reasons we clean
ourselves. I scrub
my body daily as instructed, in a furtive
attempt to wash away his fingerprints, the path of his
tongue along my thigh, confusion in his absence. All
the reasons that make me a woman.
Kelly Cahill was born in Columbus, OH, and works in the insurance industry.
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