I spilled ink on the floor, damn it,

and left it there for a year.

I would look lovingly at it

every so often,

and it would look lovingly back;

perhaps we’d have tea.

But then one day,

one black, anxious day,

I thought I should clean it


“It is better to be in my towels,”

I said.  “Better to rumble through

my washing machine.

Better to get in between my fingers

and in my hair.”

And yes,

it did like being there.

Even I didn’t mind it for a while,

looking in the mirror and pretending

I was something great,

my ink stains living through

bath waters and sprinkler systems.

The turning point is always feeling trapped,

the day I realized I could not get them off,

could not clear my skin of their

ethereal concoctions,

could not wash their beleagured soot

out of my scalp,

without cutting off my own


29 thoughts on “labor

  1. I. Love. This. It reminds me of how I always start writing ‘a novel’ or ‘a book’ and then lose hope halfway. Then I’d come back months later, wonder why I ever stopped and pick it back up, only repeat the cycle again and again. Seriously, I love this.

  2. Ah–you can’t remove something that is so much a part of you. You’d have to bleach it from your DNA.

    I’ve always believed it’s better to highlight what makes us stand out, and you, Ms. S., surely have ink in your blood, stain or no.

Love you, too

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s