The smell of bleach is overwhelming,
but my mother always liked the smell.
She would mix bleach with a splash of lemon and the smell of sickly citrus would
drift through the house.
She would spend hours on the floor, scrubbing
each baseboard and kitchen tile.
Each swish of the mop would bring my mother
closer to God.
But for me, the fumes seemed to shake my mind and cause each ridge in my brain
My head succumbing to the pressure of finding my home
like some hospital.
Bleach burns. Once I let my hand slip into that lemon-scented pail,
feeling the itch rise up my wrist.
It felt similar to the Holy Spirit rising through my
chest during each Sunday service.
a decontaminate, something that desensitized and purified.
So, I began to rub my hands, with a spiritual fever,
letting my skin flake from each coat of
But somehow, I never felt clean enough.
I never felt sanctified.