34-0-10

Three numbers on a slip of ripped paper

Left on top of the toilet paper dispenser.

Somewhere, a lock is compromised and I, alone, have the combination

Because I couldn’t bear to leave those three precious

Numbers to sit beside an automatic toilet

And possibly be flushed by careless hands.

They were abandoned by carelessness or forgetfulness

Or the fact that some other woman was in a rush…

To get to her children? To get to her class so she could

Spin off her weight and dance to beautiful tone-ness.

I honestly thought, for a three digit moment, about trying

Every lock in the room, going through all the spinning clocks

Hanging in the locker area.

Not with the intent to steal.

Not even with the intent to scrutinize and judge.

But merely to peruse.

Who are you?

What is tucked in the folds of your bag?

I have pony-tail holders, elastic headbands in vibrant colors,

A pair of cheap flip-flops that I wear into the shower so that I

Won’t slide on the water-slickened floors (I’ve done it and fret

About my towel flying away like a dead second skin and

Showing to the world all my ugly imperfections).

I have shampoo and conditioner…a dulled razor,

Deodorant that is crumbling from having been dropped too many times.

I have pens in the pocket next to my daughter’s ear buds,

In case I need to write, in case words flood my brain instead of

Endorphins and adrenaline

I have a semi-colon on my back,

A simple punctuation mark on my right shoulder.

A statement, an incomplete sentence,

A separation of words,

A combination of sentences that do not exist but

Stream across the cross where my spine meets my arms

And spin to my clavicle, rest in the hollow

Of my throat, ride up my larynx and leap.

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