The large room suddenly seemed so small
reverberating each scrape of the broom’s bristles
that scratch like nails across a chalkboard
as it brushes over uneven slate tiles.
Yet it escapes, hiding between the cracks
where grit gristles against my shoe’s soles.
Sore hands grip the handle,
they burn from bleach
that competes with the potency of wet paint
as they battle to cover the sins of the short history shared.
Another room emptied.
Another room cleaned.
Another scene abandoned.
The red walls were the solid witnesses
of contained dreams,
The keeper of secrets,
The protector again fears
The shield to hide from heartache.
But it was only a basement that kept a soul safe from the world.
Through the tiny window, emerald palms wave beside the glistening pool.
Its calm surface mirrors the cloudless cerulean winter sky.
A pool that was never used.
A pool I used to clean.
A pool I gladly abandon.
Sweat stings my eyes as I lick the glue from my lips, desperate for a drink.
But to stop would mean to linger
Not when time is so near.
It is time to move on
To shift free from this place of old pain.
The sound of approaching footfall bounces off the roof like unseen ghosts.
The wind rattles against the windows whipping feathery fronds without mercy.
A shadow stretches across the open doorway –
the only exit now blocked.
My legs shake.
My lower belly weakens.
Fear rises like acid at the back of my tongue.
Sweat bubbles across my skin.
The pulse skips in my ears.
The heart pounds against my constricting ribcage.
My hands grip the broom like the lance of a knight about to face the dragon.
But I’m no hero…
I’m just the border who wants my bond back.