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It All Comes Out in the Wash

By: Rose Cervantes 


The tone of hope and disappointment

belly flop onto my brain

when I hear your voice catapult between my ears


It all comes out in the wash

You say this

and the dark sinks its nails in

like a cat leaning into a good scratching post


The catalogue of catastrophe

the blaze of self blame

they meet in the middle of forgetting to call you back after the fifth time

and the time I skipped class because I was sad about another school shooting

and my professor took away my participation points

it all comes

Into the water the same


I have been known to inch on belly

fingertips reached away from my ears and my feet

towards the water

I’m still trying to clean these lies I whispered to myself

                                                                   in the middle of

a sentence while you were talking


I drowned out your essence

because I wanted to practice on someone

before myself


It all comes out in the wash

the dirty dish orgy I host when I’m finally too depressed to forget what food web is growing in the sink

the stories I tell myself wrong on purpose

fill me with horror to keep the pain poignant

the joy I stole from your smile whenever you lit yourself on fire and still danced

I taught myself this tango in our backyard

I talk fast like you do so I run out of breath so I can stop running

the joy I know comes and goes

the way water flows closer and farther

from the shore

she never leaves

but she doesn’t stay


Mom it’s so miraculous

I can feel my feet with all this



from me

from mine

I can see myself still.

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