Stained

Some things never leave:
marks that are difficult
to erase— beet juice,

strawberry pulp, blood
in the middle of a sheet,
a nail pulled roughly

from its bed. Knees
rubbed raw on pavement.
A girl in my first

grade class was sick
and soiled herself one
morning; the teacher

had to clean her up
at the sink. And I
had nosebleeds

every day for more
than a month: pinched
nose, tilted head,

metallic clot that formed
in the back of my throat.
After the birth of my

last child, I staggered
up from the hospital bed
and dragged the IV

drip to the bathroom
but did not make it
in time. Until then

I didn’t know exactly how
many ways blood could
congeal: spongy

thickness; islands
marking irregular outlines
on white linoleum tile.

 

In response to Via Negativa: Piscean.

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