I glance sideways, to see the roll, whiteless and empty.
Like eyes - cold emotionless eyes.
The bronzed dispenser, bare and hollow.
It stares down, across the mismatched tiles until its gaze reaches my feet, where I cringe.
I take my thongs off and pat the floor with my bare feet.
I meekly kick the thongs towards its depressed gaze, hoping to keep it busy.
In doing so, I stare at my feet, sallow and black.
I fiddle with my toes, playing them like a piano, stringy bone casting jumping shadows.
I don’t like them, so I move on.
I move up, past my mechanical ankle and up the shaft of my leg. Worms cling on tightly, fearful to let go.
They make my leg black, so I pull them off, hit them off. But it gets blacker everytime I do that.
There are so many holes and canyons there now, but they still don’t let go.
I don’t know why...why they don’t come off.
I hit them again, but to no avail.
I continue to move up, to my bulging knee. It looks as out-of-place as anything but it just doesn’t sink back in.
I want to push it back in, but it doesn’t go back in.
I don’t know why...why it doesn’t listen.
I look across to its twin, who is also as disobedient.
I smack them both, but they still don’t listen.
My thighs have gone pink over the years - pink, but not pretty.
They’re too sallow, so I hit them to make them paler, but it never works.
They grow red - dark red - but then fades back to that musty colour again, incompletely.
I hate them. I imagine driving a knife through them, but I still cringe.
I don’t know why...why I cringe.
I don’t want this.
I look up; away.
But black instead.
I tear it off, but I cringe.
I try to dismiss it, but it just doesn’t let me.
I grab my knife and try to cut it off.
It works, but I smash my face, shattering it to bits.
I grab fistfuls of it, pounding it onto my bare body, my bare face, smudging it in.
Purify my skin and flesh.
I pound it in, as if I was forging a sword.
It makes my skin pink, bursting it. Black, everywhere.
Soon it’ll be all gone.
The black, gone. Dirt, gone.
Then the clean will replace it...
It glows, and I push it in, force it in.
But it doesn’t stay on.
It falls at my feet and I scoop it up.
Make more canyons, more holes, clean them out.
Make me beautiful.
But it doesn’t work.
It doesn’t stay on.
They fall off, down the tainted waterfalls.
They don’t like it - the dirt.
They don’t like me...
I stare at the blackest of them all, that filthy nest between my legs.
I shout and cry, but it only smirks.
They leave, down the drain, away into the blackness.
I beg them to come back, but they don’t.
I hack at the nest with my knife. I cringe, but I know it’s for the better.
It squeals, but I feel relief.
The dirt gushes out, flushing away...
Don’t come back.
I hack at the hairs on my legs. They still don’t come off, but still, I hack.
They’re going. The more dirt that gushes out, the faster they turn away.
I grovel at the drain, but it’s too late.
I manage to save a few and I quickly rub them on my thighs.
Make them...whole again.
They still don’t stay on. I’m too dirty. They know that underneath, there is only more dirt.
I can’t stand it.
So I hack. Again and again.
I show them that I’m sorry.
Look, there’s the dirt...but I don’t want it...
Make me...please...make me...
I beg, but they are disgusted.
I apologise, over and over.
But they don’t listen.
No one listens.
They turn away, like the others.
Down the drain they went, away from me...
I feel empty.
It surrounds me,
and I shiver.
I turn to the dirt.
But even they can’t stand the sight of me.
Down they went, away, draining away.
I grab the dead bird, lying near my thongs and I try to put it back where the nest used to be.
But it doesn’t stay. It lies limp, on the dirt-stained tiles, no longer mismatched.
Regret fills my eyes...dirty regret, only partially purified.
It stings my eyes, subtly.
I can’t blink them.
I keep them painfully open.
They see me, how beautiful I am.
Shallow eye, it sees me too, now that
I lie, on the dwindling floor.
Tell me that I’m beautiful.
But it doesn’t answer.
I don’t know why...why it doesn’t answer.
Maybe it’s because I’m not beautiful.
I look for the knife. It lay next to the drain, but
I caught it before it ran away.
I hack again, plunging it into my hollow stomach.
I cut where the ridges of my pelvis form.
It spills; it bursts, like a fountain.
A beautiful fountain.
I no longer cringe.
How can you cringe...cringe at what you think is beautiful?
People do that.
Because they’re not beautiful.
I look up, at the shallow eye, and I repeat my request.
But it is no longer looking at me.
It gestures up, towards my ruin, my shattered heaven.
I clutch the basin, still white, still beautiful, but I taint it with my beauty.
My efforts wasting, I pull myself up, but my legs cannot support my weight.
They stumble, but
I still clutch onto it with my spidery hands.
I climb up and bring my face into view in front of the ruined mirror.
I utter its name.
But my arms stumble before it gives me an answer.