more than torn linen

I wait for whatever I was when I was young.

Maybe it was more than torn linen,

urine-soaked sheets, black mold and toast with butter.

Idle oranges, separate the pith from the zest, radiator dry.

And as idly, the angry spot on my back, red and worn.

I pulled my flesh apart with my own hands to stop the scream of it.

If not myself, the crinkled edges of lined paper, snapped hair ties.

I scratched the pus out of my cheeks with my fingernails.

The scars still ooze, but rest easy when I leave them so.

Night sweat and swallow dead dog hair, heavy air,

shower until it all cooks clean, blotchy chest and close-bitten fingers.

Beat thighs with fists to bruise the bone to feel, too much ibuprofen.

But ripped cotton t-shirts to sleep in, the old clean smell,

new bread, a strong wood table, wool and the warmth of socks.

Whatever I was when I was young is there between

two rangy hounds huddled in a big bed, ice cream stick

and figure-skating re-runs on public television.

© 2015 Anna-Christina Betekhtin, All Rights Reserved.

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