I watched a Youtube video
teaching girls at boarding school
in the 40’s
how to comb their hair
how to rub suds into the skin
so that nothing
could ever hurt too bad

This is how I fill
the time it takes
to move on

There was thick soap
in a heavy jar
there were bowls of water

There was time
to scrub and scrub
and scrub

I could wash these hands raw
past the red
to the milky bone

Hold them out
as proof that I waited
(you can’t deny that)

And I wait
for the bus
and I eat
potato chips with gloves on
and there is so much
to clean

I’d scrub through the cold
just to be there

on your bedroom floor

while you take
your time
in the shower.

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