By Lisa Lerma Weber
Someone on the news said that if we leave the house—to hunt for toilet paper perhaps—then upon our return, we should wipe down our catch with sanitizing wipes (those of us lucky enough to buy some before the Great Hoarding that is). Then we should remove and wash our clothing, and maybe even take a shower. So, that’s what I do. I wipe down my solitary roll of toilet paper and innumerable packages of pasta and rice and Spam. You can never have too much Spam. I throw my clothes and socks and shoes and keys and wallet and memory in the washer with some bleach. I don’t worry about bleach stains. Everything is stained or void of color now anyway.
Once the washer is going, I go the bathroom and turn on the shower, twisting the faucet all the way to the left. When steam begins to blur the edges of the world, I step into the stall. The water is scalding and I can hear the viruses screaming as they melt off my body and jump out of my hair, descending to the dark and slimy depths of the shower drain. Then I hear myself scream as the water blisters my skin. I stand right beneath the showerhead so the water pours over my ears, making my screams sound far away. Everything is far away. I have distanced myself.
I melt, my skin dripping like the wax of a candle, one that smells of grief. I have stopped screaming, become a noiseless puddle of flesh on the chipped tile. The only sound now is the whooshing of the water as it forces me through the sieve of the shower drain and down into the dank cavern of lost hair, lost semen, and lost tears.
I find myself entangled with all that loss, and together we ride the dark waves. I no longer have a mouth, but if I did, I would smile.
I am cleansed. I am washed away.
I am free.
Lisa Lerma Weber’s words and photography have been published online and in print. She is a poetry contributor and junior editor for Versification. Follow her on Twitter @LisaLermaWeber.
This piece is a part of DISTANCED 3.0.