ring around the prosey

my fingers are puckered with murky water
invisible drawstrings cinched tight at the tips
and my knuckles are sore from squeezing out dishrags
and my knees ache, as do my shoulders and hips

i’ve hunched like quasimodo, but my bell never tolls
i’ve been reeling and kneeling in an attempt to restore
the luster i’ve lost, scrubbing scuffs from my linoleum soul
but some marks won’t come out, no matter how intensely you rub.

my heart’s worn raw, and the sparkling white’s faded
i’d bleach if i could, but the ammonia stings
my nose burns with tears (from the smell or the sorrow)
so i’ll rock me to sleep, and my lullaby sing.

—  at least cinderella had a fairy godmother