J.L. Smith

I think of you
and I think of bleach.
At night, I do not sleep.
I bleach
the counter tops,
because I could never clean well enough for you.
I miss spots
because I do the job in haste,
between games of Taipei,
because I like things that mean nothing
and when everything matches,
even if it only matches in Chinese,
because I know in English
it wouldn’t make sense anyway.
My bleached hands
are full of snowflakes I cupped
and bleed of chemicals they steep.
Yet I do not stop bleaching,
even though it is 2 am,
and you cannot see these white counter tops,
nor how hard I tried to be perfect,
and failed.

J.L. Smith just recently moved all her worldly possessions from Alaska to Maryland, and is currently enjoying the change in scenery. Her work has appeared in many publications, including Yellow Chair Review, Five 2 One Magazine, Dirty Chai, Cirque, and others. See more of her work at jlsmithwrites.com.