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. Read other Creative Challenge winners. To find out how to participate, go to Creative Challenges.