I shall be healed

The rain came down to
wash away my iniquities, to cleanse me of my sins,
to buy me more time, to give me one last chance to prove that I had something to prove,
trying to convince not only me
but everyone around
me, which currently happened to be
Mrs. Gilmour from
upstairs and the
rows of inactive washing machines that took more than
willpower to run.

I took refuge there, bartering with the laundry gods in
exchange for some control; pushing
the buttons of someone, something else. An unspoken
agreement (Hail Mary, full of grace) that when
I fed their cold, hungry mouths they would deliver me from my evils, take away the reminders of what
it took to survive, my confessions
out with the stains; each tattered bra and thinning slip
secretly holding the
tally of how many times I’d had to say “yes” when
all I’d wanted to do was scream
until I couldn’t speak,
couldn’t breathe.

As the final load of my fresh start came
to an unbalanced
end, I gathered my folded things (corner to corner, seam to seam) and stepped once again into the rain, letting
it run down my neck and soak my hair so it
clung to my forehead
as I sent up one last Our Father to whoever was

—Megan Reetz, Berlin, WI