Unclean by Caitlin Dicus

So you think you can jump in my pool and leave
Dirt, filth, anger, marks of you behind for
Me, a child wielding sandpaper against freckles,
To feverishly scrub away with only my own pale arms?

I blame you for baptizing me in your unclean water with this
Muddy hair sticking to my neck, a familiar leech of my lifeblood,
And slathering my face with your dimples and expressions
So that I will laugh, cry, and scream like you.

But your bludgeoning words calloused my small
Weak body against your kind, who kill and crush
The tentative dreams of farm-grown daughters.
I thank you for making me strong.

Though even now you follow my name like a parasite.
With the precious Gaelic charm comes a stinking
Germanic afterthought better off forgotten.
I blame you for sullying my very existence.

But one day your filth will fade
When my mother gives away my hand
My years of feverish scrubbing will finally
Wash away your marks.

So you think you can leave me,
Like a single achene from a long-rotted dandelion
Blown into the dirt between the fence cracks?

Thank you for the strength to wait on the rain.

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