CLEAN by Maria Isabelle Carlos

/ / Issue 15

Trust that there exists                     a version of you
who has set her alarm                 for seven a.m.
and wakes to it        who remembers to floss
to sweep tangles        from her hair        root to tip
with a wide-toothed comb   before she leaves
the house      that there exists      a version
who leaves            the house      Trust
the sober     tidy version    who makes her bed
keeps her appointments     calls her mother
Trust this version     who trusts     her therapist
when her therapist says      There are better ways
to be   Trust her      who digs from the closet
a mute-gold bottle        plastic walls rattling with the last
of her dull blue pills     who lines them up    in her palm
and names each one           No Thank You
watches them swirl    down the kitchen drain
into the throat                             of a garbage disposal
Believe you    will find your way    back home
the porch light                expectant        thrumming through
the night       pinging softly          with the sound of June
bugs   Believe in this version                  who coos
her cravings            to sleep     like a sick child
the one who scrubs                    the dusty residue
of crushed pills from        the coffee table
from the kitchen counter            from the nightstand
Be this version                    the one who sees
a mirror       and doesn’t turn       away