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Spring Cleaning

by | Jan 31, 2021

I despise invisible things like dust—

I am in my first apartment in a tangle of narrow streets,

my roommate’s painting of the Madonna as a snarling wolf adorns

dark brick walls. I spend each day with a dustpan,

on my knees, sand and fuzz and hair tumbleweeds across the floorboards

I make attentive notice of my loved one’s words. 
I want to welcome him into my body again,
the way we would have in unmasked times before March,
but I fear disease stealing his breath.

Sometimes I want to call every
shimmer at the throat of a rock dove by his name,
the thing that glistens in ultraviolet light,
like he is in his happiness.
If I cannot kiss him, I want to exhale the softness in my chest
so he can breathe it in too, a reminder that
it is not always so bad to give invisible gifts. 

            My KN95 makes streaks of sweat on my cheeks.

            I greet passers-by with my eyes.

            I smile with what I have

How, how, how do you get back things you have lost?                                            

My first four years of life   My blind child years  

that raw happiness that tastes like dragonfruit and lime

Barefaced bargoers gather in groups of fifteen or more on the curb,

a strange replica of everywhere else I’ve been,

                                 a world crafted by a child

                                 so false and so heavy

How to clean when you know you’ll have to do it again tomorrow

in the corners of your kitchen where you can barely see,

uncovering some grimy reality?

(Are we not all alone in the end? Are we not all just wasting our time now forcibly making ourselves into the inevitable?)

The virus tells me to consider what invisible things I carry in my spit and exhalations,

what infectious things I breathe into the people I care for,

             what can be healed and what must simply be prevented.