the soiling



he fingered her lace, widening the holes,
little to no regard that they would never shrink
to their original size. it was skin,
delicate and servile, ornamental in his eyes.

in the end, her porous body was broken,
shattered, like silver fragments of mirror
reflections of fading brightness, shining
even in decline.

she held her breath to give less away,
cupped the tender flesh of her breast
with  bright red hand, saw holes in her lace
through which leaked remnants of pride.

her fingers picked away pieces:
fantasy, fingernail, bits of hair, broken promise,
innocence, regard, and faith—
all twisted in the mangled fabric of flesh.

bent over basin, she relieved herself the burden of blood,
scrubbing away embryonic memories—
not yet fully formed imprints—and gelatinous remains,
glittering on woeful spangled gut.

before leaving, he marked her contours with chalk
and remarked how believable her figure,
left the door open, and her, like lace, hollowed out,
through which fell thick-cut bits of everything.

was this the way women were made, or men;
was this the ritual that made her mother’s creases;
was this the purpose of a sink,
to wash away the trappings of experience?


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