the visit


the visit


i take a tarnished, greasy butter knife

wrap it taught and coarse in

the cheapest paper towels they had

for purchase at the dollar store


i scrape the corners and nooks of this place

unearthing frights of schmutz and gunk

that i would otherwise leave unmolested

if you weren’t coming to visit


empty plastic pints, glass fifths, rotgut vodka

stuffed away into bloated oversized black

garbage bags, screeching a terrible clank,

an indictment, when i set them on the curb


the vacuum is not working well, so i shake

the rugs, i spray bleach on the mildew colony

in the shower, between tiles, sweep up the

hair on the floor where i trimmed my beard


i am ashamed


i am not ashamed of how i live, so what, a

sock in the corner, balled up and old q-tips

hanging out by the toilet and the dishes stacked

for days in the sink, egg flakes soaking in brine


i am not ashamed, but it would pain me for

you to see this, and it was you, after all, who

taught me that life is about smoothing out the

smudges on the mirror in case the neighbors see


on my knees scrubbing i think back to the lake

house warm childhood summer barbecues

fish frys, water skis, whiffle balls, comic books

the hypnotic sound of waves lapping the shore


back in those sepia good old days, days before

that short time when we were all together




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