Clean

I scrub my teeth harder than usual.
The brush is medium-bristled,
but my gums still ache
from getting the taste out of my mouth.

I clean more vigorously than usual.
The white washrag absorbs dark dirt,
and I wonder how I hadn’t noticed the buildup.

I launder more linens than usual.
The washer vibrates with the effort
of removing stale, set-in stains.

I dust more thoroughly than usual.
If it’s true what they say –
that dust is mostly dead skin –
then I’m getting rid of my old self
with every pass of paper towel.

Within an hour,
I’ve finally given myself
a clean slate.

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