Writing Catalog

Bee Rohrs

Grade: 11

Lakewood High School

Instructor: Amy Garritano




My blood runs as warm as the showers I took
On those hot summer nights
Washing away a sticky film of sunscreen and sweat,
Washing away that dewy humidity,
Washing away the impending dread.

And I know my blood runs as warm
Because I feel it run down the cleft of my lip
Staining my cupid's bow with a red blush
In the shade of O positive
Unconventional— but a striking hue.

I feel it drip onto my chest,
And muddle in to the warmth of sunscreen and sweat and humidity and dread
Combining with the water
To dilute my DNA
And to make a monotone painting
That just washes away.

My primal urge is to stop the flow;
Cease the ceaseless drips;
Stuff my sinuses with tissue and gauze;
But it's about as effective
As putting out a fire with gasoline.

My hand burns up the tissue, gunks up the gauze
It disintegrates with a damp touch,
Washing away my efforts,
Burning away my pride.
I'm overpowered by the endless stream of water
Originating from the showerhead above
I get redder by the second
Bathed in my innermost secrets,
Suffocating in a sanguine flood.

I'm catatonic in this calamity,
Searching desperately for relief,
For some kind of cataclysmic catharsis,
Perhaps even just someone
To turn the water off.

Hand disintegrating tissue,
After tissue,
After tissue,
When in a stroke of genius,
Or pure dumb luck,
I construct a dam,
A compaction,
With those bits of disintegrated tissue,
Held together by platelets and plasma
To bring me some form of relief

Relief that washes away,
In quick moments,
As I try to wash off the remnants of my ordeal,
From my hands and arms and ground and walls,
But my compact
It crumbles
Under the weight of an endless stream of water,
Originating from the showerhead above,
From the flow
That I should have turned off
But my desperation to be clean,
To be free of blood,
To be healing and healed and healthy,
To rid myself of every secret and guilt and nuisance that my nuclei hold,
I harmed myself,
I got more blood on the walls,
Made more of a mess,
For some form of future self to clean up after,
Just so the present tense can live in content
Even if just for that slim moment
Before the tissue washes away

And so I continue on with my routine
Hair lathered with artificial coconut and plastic,
Hands lathered with soap and the efforts to keep myself clean,
Soap suds running red
But doing something more than nothing,

It's poetic when I think about it,
The futility of man,
The struggle between blood and water,
In an arms race with myself,
Fighting over whether to prioritize the drip of my blood or the cleanliness of my body,
Though in those prolonged moments where I fail to choose,
Both become futile, arbitrary, abstract.

And so I watch my DNA
Go down the drain
Washed away,
Like nothing.

And I know one of these days
Both my blood
And the water
Will run cold.