Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Lindsey Royce: Purification And All That Fuckery

My hovel, my mess—surfaces like baseball mounds, my pubic mound—books papers piled, my checkbook math, an epic fail—cleanliness, godliness—washing the carpet, the body—a good

Catholic girl I was scared of the God who saw James and me sneak behind the carwash—a foursome, both boys wanted voluptuous Karen, but James had to settle for me, and my flat lace

training bra, sky blue—the gift Liz’s mom bought for my 13th birthday, a purchase meant to embarrass me, rich kid she resented—Naive, I reported to Karen, my first dick, bird in hand,

felt like a pencil, then couldn’t live it down— Girls laughed me pink while boasting in the school’s antiseptic restroom of new periods spotting their panties, gifted like shiny red  

convertibles—Nuns insisted we were biblically unclean, though that priest seemed to love us—so when dad punched me up against the stone house, breaking my nose, and I learned the taste

of my blood, I liked it—because it was mine and it tasted as clean as new steel. Sin, I suppose—And forget catching me in any cleansing pool, that’s nuts—I dirtied this house with sound mind

and body, no neat freak here—though at day’s end my scrubbing is twice as hard—I cleaned my bloodline from my teeth lips chin with a white washcloth—and washed the virginity blanket—

the one his spiteful grandma knit, in the dorm machine’s hot water, I shrank my shame,

upped his, he tried every-which-way to stretch it to size—Fuck sin, and mine in seducing him.

Isn’t it like repainting of the Golden Gate, painters finish and straightaway start again—I like

sparkle in my bipolar house, and alone, I clean when I want, do what I want, no roommate’s

drunken glasses in the sink, no husband’s mud-dried work boots on the coffee table,

no daddy-god’s ringtones shrill over the washer’s agitator— Elbow deep in soap, suds

bubbling over wrists and arms, tits that turned out fine shading the sink, I’m fucking perfect to someone—and I won’t quit my hope to be chosen despite imperfection—

because I am freedom, because I am boundless, I am the shit—and cherry-picked, they’ll love all of me—fuck yeah—me and my aftertaste


Copyright 2021 Lindsey Royce

Lindsey Royce’s books include Play Me a Revolution (Press 53, 2019). She lives in Steamboat Springs, CO and is a professor of English at Colorado Mountain College.

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This entry was posted on September 8, 2021 by in Poetry, Social Justice, spirituality and tagged , , , , , .

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