Seven Years

Tread on lightly to the door
Skin can't touch the floor
Grab a tissue, or your shirt
Avoid the handle's dirt

Walk down the hallway to the kitchen
Need something to eat
Can't touch the cupboards
Can't touch the faucet
Can't touch the microwave
Or use the silverware or dishes
He wishes
Things were different
But that dream's broken
And he grabs a paper towel
To go open
The refrigerator 
And get some food

Use another paper towel to get a plate
And fork
Out of the cupboards
Then turn on the sink
And rinse them off
They're still unclean
Wash your hands he thinks
Your finger touched the faucet handle

The food is in the microwave
Use the paper towel to set the time
Avoid the grime
That hasn't been washed off in years

Knocked a notebook to the floor
Can't use it anymore

Pick it up with a napkin, throw it away
Get the food out of the microwave 
Opening the door
With a paper towel

Back in his room, he can take off his shoes
As long as the socks don't touch the floor
Or he'd have to throw them away

Screams echo through the walls
His mom is screaming at his brother
They're both wrong, but she should know better
"Don't ******* hit me!"
His brother yells back 
As his thoughts trail away

**** her
He thinks, looking at his wall
Where the can of orange soda
She threw at him exploded

He turns on the TV she cracked
When she slammed it into the wall
Cussing at the top of her lungs
About his underachievement

She's clueless
Of course his life's a mess
When he's subjected to this stress

He eventually falls asleep
And wakes up the next morning
Puts on his shoes without touching the floor
So he can walk to the bathroom
And lean into the shower to wash his hair - 
Using toilet paper to turn the handles
It isn't clean in there either
You, dear reader, might agree
If you could ever see
What that bathtub has been through

And even so, many bleaches later
To get in would require
Him to step onto the bathroom tile
With bare feet when he's done
And he'd rather run away 
Than deal with that
That the family never visits
Is a testament to this

He knows it isn't entirely logical
And one thinks, why doesn't he just clean
The house out by himself?
- it would take hours, literally days
Of work to do that
And it would get dirty again too soon
He gave up fighting it a long time ago

He passes the days in a malaise
Waiting for the opportunity
To escape
He's only like this here
And he might still battle the fear
She's instilled in him
When he leaves
But the reprieve will cleanse
Him eventually


This was more or less my life for seven years. The whole of my adolescence.

I've since moved out of my mom's house and the last two lines are holding up truly enough - The OCD-like symptoms have subsided drastically. I'm certain they were exacerbated by being in that environment.

I didn't write this with poetic quality in mind. The intent here was simply to get the past off of my chest. I've kept this part of my life a secret as long as possible from those who didn't see it firsthand.. I feel like putting it up here will help me move on.

effervescence effervescence
26-30, M
4 Responses Mar 12, 2009

An intimate look into your life, or how it used to be - seeing as it was written a few years ago.

I like how you take the reader along your thought processes and mental dialogue as you encounter the daily “grime.” It is a breeze to follow, because it is fascinating. There seems to be something inextricable between your need for personal cleanliness, and the “unclean” behavior surrounding you. Both seem unbearable to you in the poem. They are nearly one and the same.

Of course, I can be way off-base. That is simply how I interpreted it.

Your interpretation is spot-on!

You inspire me. Thank you for being such a great friend.

Aye, I know what you mean. When I'm at my new house, I react differently (in a good way!) to household stimuli than I would have at my mom's.

That was a great story. It's great that the symptoms have subsided drastically. WHen I first read this I thought it was a poem. That is so cool how you got everything to rhym.