you ought to wash your hands of me
(you don’t know where i’ve been)
perhaps the ink of night remains
on fingertips and clothes
perhaps the soot of thunderclouds
has dusted me from rose
and back again.
you ought to wash your lips of me
(i don’t know where i’ve been)
for all you know the earth’s dark clay
was caked like makeup there
for all you know, the sun-white bones,
were worn and tangled in my hair
held death inside.
you ought to wash your self of me
(who knows where i have been)
it’s possible that sorrows hid
deep in the marrow (mine)
it’s possible that rivers flowed
full salted and divine
canyons down my cheeks.
scrub hard, be sure to use warm water
and see if off your dirtied hands
flow traces of the earth’s daughter.
or if the only sight
among burst soap suds glistening
are gray, burst dreams you touched
when you touched me (vanishing).
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.
This piece won the November 2015 Teen Ink Poetry Contest.