Ode to my dirty sheets

Ode to my dirty sheets

By Maria Zaharatos
O jeez
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
O well!
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

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