Murky swamps in the creases of her pillowcase.
A mixture of brackish water and chalky, black mascara.
This mascara had kept its promise of smokey eyes,
but waterproof was clearly a delusion.
She rationalizes that tomorrow she’ll go to the drug store.
Though there are other things she cannot get back,
she can at least get back nine dollars and seventy six cents,
that she wasted on fraudulent makeup.
For years there were men not worth her smudged, tear streaked mascara.
Now, all those years and only one of them truly seemed worth it.
The first time she met him he took her to a nice restaurant.
She nervously tore apart tiny pieces of straw wrappers and napkins,
by the end of dinner the pile could put a paper shredder to shame.
On their second date he handed her a straw wrapper,
“A gift. Just in case you need it,” he smiled.
Every day that she knew him he put a smile on her face,
‘til one day he said, “I’ll have to know about your past.”
She thought of one of her favorite video games. A classic really.
The sad music that plays when you expend your last life.
And then the gloomy message in red, “GAME OVER.”
“…but not yet. Not today. We can wait.” He kissed her forehead.
It didn’t make her feel any better to wait.
She knew that eventually he would leave.
Now, she lays in bed, black mascara streaming down her cheeks.
She thought of her past. Every time her copper rage,
lashed out like a scorching, jealous tea kettle.
heart unguarded, the streams of life turned to charcoal.
All the times she let her heart beat steadily, methodically
like a metallic steel drum for so many things that were wrong.
She calls to mind the biblical proverb about the dog that returns
to its own vomit, and the many times she returned to her crimes.
“I’ll pray about it,” he said. Clearly disappointed.
But she was right to believe she’d never hear from him again.
For so long she clung to self deception.
Lies that said, “You are an awfully good person compared,
to a lot of people.” Tonight her own lies were finally silent.
And when she got home she left a trail of grimy foot prints on the floor.
Sometimes you don’t realize just how filthy your own boots are,
Until you walk across a white, sparkling, clean floor.
Now, she’s doing a fine job irrigating every stitch
of cotton in her pillowcase,
“Lord, will you help me when morning breaks?”
She thinks to herself, “I’m defeated and finished.
This dragon. guilt. shame. Devouring my mind with foamy jowls.”
But somehow through loud sobs she hears an almost silent voice,
mercifully, lovingly it says, “Just trust me now.”
And she did. For love covers a multitude of sin.