How to Get Clean (draft 2)

Scrub grout from green and cream tiles along the tub’s rim;
seal the new, clean cracks with caulk. Scrub at the rings
left by his forgotten bottles of shampoo and conditioner, still
smelling faintly of cinnamon musk. He’s not coming back.
Throw them away. Toss blue powdered cleaner in the toilet bowl, wait
two minutes, scrub. Discard the single-bladed navy razors
you certainly won’t be using. Scrub the mirror
above the sink, white streaks of toothpaste and water. You always hated
when his spit flecked the glass. Scrub hands with pomegranate soap suds;
ignore the cracked red hatch-marks outlining each knuckle.
Pitch the saucer – in which your rings used to rest – into the trash.

Scrub lines of mascara off ruddy skin. Scrub what’s left,
foundation and blush, from jaw lines and forehead.

Scrub even the dowel rods – don’t think about the monogrammed towels
that used to hang there – and wipe them dry. Drape with new, striped linens.

Turn the knob in the shower all the way to the right and undress
while steam reeking of cleaner begins to rise up from the tile.
Stand in the spray, soak your head. Scrub scarlet fingers into your scalp.


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