A sense of guilt comes
with being unable to follow through with one emotional reflex
quip –roll back
born – beam
offense – steam
decease – grieve
but there knelt on the steps
I propose: it was the bleach
on my tear ducts
as I sliced those steps.
Those steps I sped down
countless times to race to the family room
(a nominal appellation for the place. Like saying, “home”)
Those steps I skipped up
to see how much of a gazelle I could produce out of myself
I think I got to six, once
Six steps skipped, with carpet burns, too
from sledding down the blue-sea slope
that was now pared down to plain wood
I kept slicing at them, the bleach kept punching
at my throat
moreso than the recollection of the view further along
another case of bare stairs to the basement
where the sheet rock held storm
clouds, one-dimensional charcoal blotches
that, thankfully, never fully surrendered
alongside the two-by-four framing
above the mound of liquefied plastic that contained a
I’m not sure which,
but which failed to combust the propane within the once-gray tank
Placed there for a failed purpose
And that image
juxtaposed with what could have been:
Could have been a “home” fire
Could have been I did not need to slice
since the flame would have cut the blots and steps right through
feign to consume whatever – all’s a lollipop, and what better flavor to boil than cherry-red,
fitting of a way for something to be rendered away:
the way it insisted on being: boiling
Not a stain or step left.
Yet the intent was not to save the toil of tidying up
just to all-else destruct with self-destruct.
A clutched crumpled reason was not enough.
Maybe relief should have met me, then.
But Plath did, instead,
and I said to myself
about the extinguishing, impotent:
“You do not do, you do not do,
Any more, black shoe.”
I was never scared of you.
All those spark-inexplicable attempts at explosions
and I am not reduced. Still.
Plume-stained and burned in places,
Just need to slice away your DNA from the steps I walk.
Better, replace the slats, clean slate.
The light fixture, too, with the bullet hole you put it through, like your own chin and skull,
can be new overhead.
Let tints and ways incandesce over their cold fluorescence
Fade like a Doppler noise
an unaccompanied memory buffered by clocks and ticks and tocks
and talk of your insanity,
for which I need not feel guilty; the release for which I need not feel guilty.