Razing, Scrubbing

by | Dec 8, 2020 | Issue Eighteen, Poetry


Unease like black smoke imploding at dusk. All things like a calendar or a game of hopscotch. Everything meaning something else how I remember watching a boy burn insects in the parking lot after church. His eyes like love always shattering—as if caught in that moment between ignition and combustion. So I imagine he would say everything is an engine and I would mutter something about containment, recite each quiet prayer I had saved for my own salvation. He would smile and I would do something else. As if everything were just flashes of light and quiet screams of resentment—the sound of everything always shattering.


Every floor is a mirror into repetition. What we do, what we do not do. I scrub tiles like I am searching for God—like I am burying something by fiendishly uncovering. What is a mirror if not a warding against sin? Repetition like a drumbeat fading; an out-of-place hair or a surgeon asking for quiet. And so what do I do? I say I am trying. I say we’re all trying. I say we’re all staring at damp tiles looking for a reflection. Why? Because God is a thing we only glimpse over our shoulder—a ghost or a shadow or a small speck of dust. So I scrub the tiles and demand revelation; mix chemicals and strip away the surface. Always what I desire is a thing so out of focus. Repetition like gunshot reflecting this fearful remembrance. The way a hair is out-of-place or when too much skin is showing. Everything the reflection of a face we can’t remember. Because every mirror is a way to say I am trying. How we stare behind us like an earthquake on fire.

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