dirty slates.

by Michael King

in my childhood home, fruity pebbles were
an outlawed item, my mom convinced
there must be cement in the mix,
her fingertips raw from scrubbing
multicolored remnants from the
ceramic rims of white bowls

i am thinking about the way
matter clings to its existence, the
way everything bends itself
to survive, about how maybe
letting go is antithetical, somehow,
to everything

i am thinking of the
number of times my mom
has had to scrub beneath hot water
because i’ve been too careless
to rinse things away

i am thinking of you and
the way we’ll never
have clean slates with one another,
stagnant air and empty hours,
those things that seemed bright,
seemed sweet, scraping their way
down my ribcage