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when i’m stressed, i clean.
I need a clean room like a baby needs to breathe.
I somberly stare
at the bags piled up on the bed,
the clothes askew on chairs,
the shoes scattered across the floor.
There is nothing I can do about it.
There has been a disruption
in the matrix of the pristine,
a rupture in the purity of routine.
It is not about the bags.
It is not about the clothes or shoes.
It is about all the times
someone promised to show up but didn’t,
or failed to return favors,
or redefined what you thought was letdown.
It is about what has been taken.
The unclean room is a visual
of what it feels like to be devastated
by the times that you expected, but never got.
The disruptions and the ruptures
are only the beginning of what becomes
a lifetime of unprecedented mess—
being perpetually undone
by slight shifts in the fabric of “order.”
You know this because you realize that
once you tuck
the bags, the clothes, and the shoes
neatly away in the closet,
you are flooded
with a hauntingly familiar feeling.