Ode to my dirty sheets
By Maria Zaharatos
My dear you look a little rough, a little off-white, stained if you will
How long has it been?
Since I washed you, I mean, since I’ve slept with you and cared that I was
With you? Do you ever tell your pillow friends you’ve had enough
(you must whisper it because I never wake up—and I’m a light sleeper)
Does it hurt when you find crumbs pestering your sides, like those tiny spikes from fuzzy cacti,
my unplucked legs tickling you as I dream I’m riding bikes?
I know I shouldn’t always come to you, because you must be getting tired,
Saturated full of all the tears (and sometimes snot), when shit’s just going wrong
Satiated like a watered plant once the sobbing begins… although I must say it’s been a while
Definitely a week, or something like that…
Some mornings you must feel like woken up in a horror film, blood stains and sacrifice
Painting you like a Pollock
--I’m sorry my occasional drooling is anticlimactic compared to heartbreak and blood,
And that some nights I crawl into bed without clean soles
a dirty little ferret digging into its burrow, dragging mud into your home: I’m a MESS
And who knows what ills, what plagues I’ve brought into our safe space,
We were supposed to be a cocoon.
O sweet, sweet god-knows what thread-count love,
I’ve never always wondered:
How do you put up with me, so patiently, so calmly
Always cool and waiting, as I slip in afterhours with barely a “honey I’m home”
Can you smell her on my breath, as I open-mouth drift into sleep
Against the thread of your soft cloth? (you must be thankful I don’t snore)
Or do I mistake your touch for the silkiness of her thigh…I grasp them both
I’m sorry you have to see me like this, hear the sweet nothings and the parting of lips,
feel me with another right beside you… Or are you me?
O sheets! Do you wrap around her like my body does
And bury us deep into the night, so that I remember that even when I’m still as stone
Head heavy and eyes shut like tombs, a mourning shroud over my mind,
I don’t lie here