By Lucy Farcnik
CW: allusion to sexual assault
Two legs, one waistband
half a whispered no.
Their cotton wouldn’t make my skin crawl
if it weren’t for the handprints
left dank and rotting on the hips.
Light mirrors in a dull sort of way
off the only brass button keeping them shut,
embossed with words that fell short of something like
I made excuses for tripping over the cuffs
that drifted past my ankles,
like snowbanks in Halifax at 4 a.m.
The zipper broke six months later,
rusted with the blood that had soaked the copper seams
and seeped slowly backwards into my skin.
I’d force myself to wear them
until I could forget all the hands praying on my stomach,
unrepenting at the gaping mouth
of vintage zipper teeth
too worn to be sharp.
Sometimes I hear them crawling in the drawer,
deafening stains begging
for one more drop of bleach,
another midnight scrub in the bathroom sink.
One day I will iron my fear smooth,
like creases on knees,
fold it hand-over-hand
and put it away.