view over stone railed balcony of bay and city far below with mountains beyond

I did a number on the discolored patch of this room that stared me down
And treated it with a blackish, whitish solution with the empirical formula
Of two parts acidic love, one part distrust, and three parts eradicate. eradicate. eradicate.

I stood there, an Oxford comma under character limits, a subsonic
Cry for help, a permanent stain who could only be exfoliated, never permeated;
Still I clean, working from the inside outwards.

It’s funny that self-love and self-hatred come in topical forms
Creams and cuts, massages and massacres, I bottle them all up
To spray in the place of tears, to refurbish me.

But sponges still bend to my hands, waters whisper through my skin
I set aside my cleaning supplies, let my work hours abound for future days—
I blasted myself cleanpink and stepped onto the balcony to dry in the wind.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This poem was selected from entries submitted to our Creative Challenge Series #9: Last Sentences, which required that the last sentence in the text must be used as given.