A Personal Archive

Red Lips Red Shirt Red Blood


I stripped down in front of my mirror
My breasts scratched, my knee bruised
And my lips still red, and my shirt, red
And my face, red

And all I could really do was sit in front of the mirror
And the camera
And play calm while my heart was racing
Or, my heart was gone, maybe

I imagined my torn palm on the handlebars
Imagined my broken body biking through the city
All the grace beaten out of it

Afterwards, after the mirror, and the camera
And after all of the grace really was beaten
I was in the bath
And the water was running

My best friends hands were in the bath too
She was trying to clean something
The dirt from my face
Or something

And I was crying
The water was running and my ex-husband had come
And gone and I was alone and
There was no one to tenderly dress my wounds later
And I was the only one there to do those things
I was the only one there to be that person
For myself

I imagined the peace if my red clothed body had flopped
Over instead of behind the railing
And the water, which was green with the clouds of a storm

The first thing I noticed after my face hit the pavement
Was the earring from my left ear
Gold, and small, and the back was

But I picked it up before it was ever really lost
And then it wasn’t lost anymore
And I had saved it.