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Monday, August 09, 2010


by Michael Monroe

I wash my hands incessantly.
I don’t think it’s OCD.
I don’t count the times
I let the water fall through my fingers,
rub the soap through my skin
until my palms bleed;

I just wash them
and then wash them again.

I think I’m trying to remove
the grime of this world,
the germs of swine flu,
the oil spills
of Capitalism gone awry,
the blood of war
drenching faraway streets

like stains I can’t remove
from my clean hands.
No matter how hard I rub,
no matter how many times
I wash and wash,
the cleanliness
is merely illusion.

Michael Monroe's work has been published in the Loch Raven Review, Manorborn, and Poet's Ink. He also has poems due to be published in upcoming issues of Gargoyle Magazine and Lyric Poetry Magazine. Two of his poems were recorded on the Words on War CD produced by Birdhouse Studios and he often does poetry readings with Gimme Shelter Productions to raise money for the homeless in Baltimore.