WASHING THE DISHES
Turn the water on too hot.
Squeeze in too much soap. Pretend
you are drowning. Cloak your
wounds in the yellow decay.
Fill the sink with plates and knives.
Scrub it all away until
the past is so sparkling clean
your friends smile and eat off it.
Not a white tooth in the house
when the sun rises on this
hung-over fortress of youth,
the lazy yellow fire
assaulting sweaty lines on
foreheads, still almost asleep.
These self portraits you plunge beneath
sunken history shrivel
until they don’t look like you,
here with the plates, removing
what is left when a meal is done.
The future will take shape when
the residue is gone.
The morning will come to you:
esophagus purging the
acrid result of honey
down a stale ceramic bowl,
hiding your face, sick with shame
at what your obsession meant,
what they knew but couldn’t see.
But at this moment you’re here,
parting what’s cut from the blade,
believing in hidden knives
below the dirty water
of this stainless sink. You know
they can cut you. You believe
even you can be washed clean.