As I peeled it away, large cracks formed.
My tongue was tree bark and sap. It ran sticky with blood. I couldn’t breath until it was freed.
My hips and elbows burned where they touched the mattress, and strange thunder told me why.
Every morning some messenger reminds me why I can’t.
“You’re not dying,” I tell myself.
“How long can you live with this?” I challenge myself.
When I woke up this morning, the painters hadn’t shown for the seventh day in a row.
First sun, now brief rain, then what will they do for an excuse? Nuclear holocaust?
“I don’t know why you were hired. I don’t need painting.
I also don’t need you peering through my drapes at my sweaty, angry back when you do bother to show.
Privacy has always been important to me; more important than love.”
When I woke up this morning, I’d been dreaming of flowers growing in sewage.
The smell was sick. It smelled like nightmares should smell.
Antique seed packets with drawings of white daisies–spindly stems and aged, bleached centers–so close I couldn’t see around them.
The clean-up took days of dream time, and had to be done with a small bucket and brush. I poured countless buckets of brown liquid down my kitchen sink, and scrubbed intimately at my carpet until fresh sod appeared under my knees.
When it was clean, I invited my mother to plant vegetables in my living room.