by Maxwell Suzuki
1. You must be dirty first. //
watch the stink & sweat swirl
at the drain’s event horizon.
purge the body for hours, until
there is nothing left.
2. Let water run until it is scalding. //
One summer, you had collected firewood for a washroom stove on the cusp of a river. The Canadian soil had wedged itself so deep below your fingernails, you were wary if it would ever go away. This was the first time you were alone and naked and curious in a room with the scent of humid cedar burning its arousal onto your palms.
3. Remove all your clothing. Yes, even your underwear. //
remember what it feels like
to shiver under the rattle
of the bathroom fan. this
will not be the last time
4. Step under the showerhead and make sure to drown every inch of your body. //
You squirmed when he had touched your bare stomach. You wished you had told him it was because no one had ever felt you in that way. It was then that you began to wonder if he was cleaning dirt off or marking you with more mud.
5. Scrub with harsh soap until your skin turns salmon pink. //
shower after runs, before pancakes
and oatmeal, to cover up tears, and
for nights where alcohol lubricates the joints.
so, why is it then you do not shower
immediately after you cum?
6. Pat yourself dry before your skin reacts to the cold. //
You had a roommate once whose drunkenness had given him the permission to ask if he was bi. Luckily, the dusk had let you disguise your pity. And when it was time for him to leave, he had forgotten his damp towel hanging on the rack.
7. Change into a new pair of clothes because the old pair is too stale for your liking. //
observe the silt of the yukon settling within
the ridges of your fingerprints. maybe
this is because you feel the dirtiest
when you are alone.
8. Repeat steps 1 through 7 until you realize it was never dirt that you were scrubbing away. //
He lathered your hair with invisible soap when he came inside your mouth. You remember the rhythm of the midnight shore had matched the grasp of his hand to yours. And as you left, you had observed the confident clumsiness of your tongue and the faint pull of the crescent moon on your lips.
You didn’t need take a shower that night.
Maxwell Suzuki is a Japanese American writer who recently graduated from USC and lives in Los Angeles. Maxwell's work has appeared or is forthcoming in 805 Lit, The Racket Journal, Abandon Journal, and his personal website www.lindenandbuckskin.com. He is currently writing a novel on the generational disconnect of Japanese American immigrants and their children.