Slough

Froth like salt encrusting the edges of the claw-footed bathtub, tendrils of hair on the margins of the beige tile floor— Remember, years ago in that first apartment, coming back from a trip to find a section of pipe sticking out of the wall? The neighbors said they heard the water rushing, saw the tell-tale gush spilling out the crack beneath the front door. Thank goodness there was no carpet— only stains on the wood down the length of the hallway floor. That winter, the child made repeated trips to the third floor balcony, trying to understand Galileo’s experiment with falling bodies. Feather and stone, feather and stone. Then a little swirl of turquoise trapped inside a glass marble, accelerating through the frosty air alongside the neon-yellow tennis ball. The hand-held timer clicked as they hit the ground. When I enter a room I can usually tell who has been there before: unwashed cups in the sink, damp towels on the hook; fingernail clippings more slender than grains of rice, scattered around the trash basket. The musty smell of bodies that might have lain too long in the dark.

 

In response to Via Negativa: Toenail paring.

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