Bleach

By Diana Alvarez

Cluttered,
Like my “empty” kitchen sink.
Clear your mind, you say.
So I begin to scrub.
I scrub until all that is left are the stains from the pain.
My knuckles swell, my hands bleed, from my failed attempts to clear my head.
But the stains do not fade,
Despite the dishes being stored in the locked cabinet where I try not to reach, I always do,
over and over again.
I always make the mess.
So I pour bleach,
Tons of bleach until it enters my nose
trying to detoxify my mind.
Respira! You say, Respira!
I cannot
Breathe!
I fall into the strainer, stuck.
Sunken to the bottom and drenched in bleach,
I am still not pure, the sink is still
not clean. Respira! Clear your mind! Breathe.
Can you not tell my sink is still full, heavy with dishes drowning in bleach?
How can I possibly fucking breathe?
Got a sink full of dishes, a mind full of demons.
I cannot be empty the way you want me to be, the way I want to be.
The gallon of bleach has done no good soaking in my skin.
The only way I can empty myself, my mind, and my heart is by using the bleach to wash down
the pills in my bloody broken hands.
Finally clear, finally clean,
finally pure.
No, I still can’t.
Can no longer,
Breathe.