Clean Insults

Those sheets, never washed enough —

thrashed and speckled and ignored.

Of course, never hearing words

that stinted her growth. And then

she cried, and then those tears dried

on the pillow, an archive

of damp days she would forget.

But no, her life wasn’t bad

apart from his guilty taunts.

These sheets felt the good days, too,

nights when blood did not spatter

across fabric while she slept.

Stitches, cartilage, keeping

her heart inside of her head,

sleep, keeping her sane, in bed.