06 December 2012

Wash Your Hands

Fine Without You
Image from Tribute/Homenaje

In the aftermath, I breathed
And it must have gotten in.
Your weapons were only resting.
Damaged, maybe.
But not destroyed.
Not rusted and bent.
I should have scuttled them.
I should have blown them to bits.

But I inhaled instead,

All the hate in like hot bullets.
Battle weary and weak,
You dress my wounds in my white flag,
Knowing all your little deaths
Are multiplying inside me.
And I know it too, but I’m powerless
Against every internal puncture.
And then you can wash your hands.

You can cease fire.
You can be a saint.

Tiny cuts abrasive in the airways,
Fill my lungs with fluid.
I’d cough out the death in
Wet red that  would drip on your fingers
So people could see that your hands
Weren’t really so clean.

I’d cough it out
But my diaphragm only pulls the heavy death breath
Deeper into my belly.

If you could just reach your hand into my chest,
I’d have you harvest the heart from my body
And I could die then.
With all the blood,
All the blood
On your hands.

Inspired by and posted at Three Word Wednesday. The words were battle, fluid, and harvest. I have also included a very subpar reading.


  1. Strong strong words..like the tug of a plug hole taking us into the breath.the words..it does seem at times that others can wash their hands so easily..and we are left with the blood..the mess..jae

  2. Wow.

    Makes me think of the poison gasses that were used in WW I, and much more recently in certain parts of the world. This is what I imagine that kind of death to be.

    Grim and powerful words.


    1. I'm glad you found something personal to tie this to.

  3. sometimes people are so toxic there words hit you this way. you've really portrayed all the pain in this,

  4. Oh lordy, this is painful to read--in a good way. Hate like hot bullets--excellent work here!

  5. A dark and bleak topic, carefully told.

  6. Dark and twisty but it held my attention because... I'm not afraid of the dark places. Spend considerable time there. Your phrasing is amazing (oops, didn't mean a corny rhyme there) and the best line: You dress my wounds in my white flag. A double insult, in that your white flag is YOURS. Powerful. Peace, Amy

    1. This is pretty dark, and it is personal,but it's much more veiled than your work. I'm not as brave as you about putting it all out there. Thanks!

  7. "The heavy death breath." Remarkable...

  8. I like your reading of it very much. Unclean hands are hard detect and they can do great damage.

    1. Unclean hands can do great damage. That sounds fantastic!

  9. Nice scolding -- not letting the perpetrator escape without a sign of their guilt, even if the get away with the crime. Like the mark on Cain's forehead -- not to be punished, but to be remembered. (Genesis 4)

    I can feel the deeply personal anger at the individual -- this does not feel fictional at all.

    Is there a difference between wanting someone punished for what they have done to us vs. having them merely marked? I think so. Interesting exploration.

    1. Yeah, I wouldn't call this fiction. It may be a bit dramatized and exaggerated, but there is a reality in there.