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If I Could Just Bring Myself

to run a damp cloth along every surface of that room,

it could be different.

 

Instead I’m in the kitchen gathering all the burnt crumbs

from under the toaster in a single sheet of kitchen roll.

 

Yesterday I cleaned the sink so thoroughly

I wanted to lick the draining board.

 

Wiping away each watermark from the tap,

I found my reflection in its bowed flute was slim and beautiful.

 

Look how it keeps mounting up: all this inadequacy everywhere.

 

Look how it settles in layers of dead skin,
in lose strands of hair – these are the very toenail-clippings

 

of the feeling I want to confine to the bowels of a hoover-bag,

but as its emptied, it hacks it all back up,

 

like the smell that climbs back out the drain,

or the reappearing spots of damp,

 

all the things that keep accumulating.
Some days I can almost bring myself to bleach my hands.


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

’s work has previously featured in IOTA, Envoi, The Cadaverine, Firewords Quarterly and Eyewear’s Best New British and Irish Poets 2017. His poetry and fiction have been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, Winchester Prize 2020, and in 2018 his poem ‘Space was a material’ won the Dorset Award.

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