Today is cleaning day.
After procrastinating far too long,
The layer of dust has become impossible
With a vacuum cleaner, allergy mask and determination,
I start with old magazines, stagnant with clichéd health tips,
Paparazzi, places-to-see-with-your-special-one, nanny ads and,
Of print worthy life, newspapers glossy with falsehood,
Mites on the dank wood. In me.
On undoing the closet, a putrid smell of the dead arrests me –
I rummage through years of acquired
Dirt and ghosts of a mirrored past,
Stuffed in a corner, away from the circle of pretense.
A picture of a sunny-eyed couple, with too much happiness to restrain
In the minuscule frame.
Christmas savings, baby shoes, gift wraps,
A necklace which isn’t mine
And night club masques, maybe,
We have been wearing those, not realizing.
All this time, we are struggling to keep what isn’t ours –
The hope, the marriage, the baby
That never comes. And reality. Secrets.
Not ours, none of it,
Only yours. Only mine.
This dust is testimony.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.