Poems by Maria Arana

5 Words

the bottom of the coffee mug
stains the surface
of the cherry nightstand

it leaves a ring of brown
that cannot be removed
not even household tricks will do

scrubbing the top
damages the finish
like the number of times

I’ve sat
listening to spit
hit my forehead

it trickles down the bridge of my nose
landing on lips
made of rusted iron

then, you begin to unbutton
and come down on me
like a crocodile swallowing its meal

I chase the thought away
and scrub harder
until the wood breaks

and splinters
poke my fingers
raw and red

the blood isn’t a good match to the finish
water soothes the discomfort
and masking tape helps pull out the splinters

each ounce of pain liberated
as they leave thin wounds
only I could feel
and only I could hide

Maria Arana is a teacher, writer, and poet. Some of her poetry appears in the San Gabriel Valley Quarterly Poetry, The Altadena Poetry Review, and on the upcoming issue of Westward Quarterly. You can find her at http://rainingvoices.blogspot.com

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