Charybdis

By | 1 February 2019

i.
Your face sometimes does that key change:
no one else can hear it, but I feel the floor sticky
with tired arguments that I’ve only just mopped up.

I turn away to the sink, where the water in
this dishrag smells of old bleach, its straightjacket
stale and stiff by tomorrow if I wring it tight.

Most of the time these days I stay mute, lips as tight
as an empty washing line, shoulders slumped beneath
the plughole, drinking dirty whirlpools, waiting

for the next slammed door you bring home.
My jaw concrete, fillings cracked, leaking
stale washing up liquid at the back of my throat, yet –

ii.

I feel it coming. The day I let these photo frames
be clouded with someone else’s bruises, watch
the tarnish bloom like dusty grapes in front of me

while I find my new reflection upside down,
swimming, stretched, in silver teaspoons,
clattering my ideas awake against my teeth –

I will hear scratching behind the kitchen cupboard
grow to an insistent clamour, then sink my
plumb line tongue, roaring deep, so you understand

what it is to be me. I will feel the water crash –
that moment when I smash these plates as easily
as waves, and make you watch me leave.

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