Nighttime routine in disguise as love poem
By Liliana Greyf
A poem about washing my face, and watching someone else wash their face, and being a hopeless romantic.
I hold my toothbrush in my left hand
so my right can be in yours. I want to say
it’s because I’m a hopeless romantic, but really
I just like the way we look in the mirror, our fingers
hanging together near the knobs of our knees.
I spit in the sink; then you.
I’m sure by now you’re thinking here we go again
because I’ve written another poem with you in it.
Here’s where I call you a narcissist and start talking about
the face soap I bought for 8.99 at the farmer’s market.
I’ll even take my hand out of yours to show you the
price tag, that’s how far I’m willing to go. I’ll turn the entire
bottle of soap on its head and wipe the warmth from my
palms, just to prove I’m not writing another you-shaped ode.
It smells like lavender and oats. It has synthetic fibers in it
you’re sure, even though I paid for it in cash at an outdoor stand.
When we kiss it tastes like toothpaste and melatonin,
because I’ve forgotten to rinse my mouth.
I’m wrong; I am a hopeless romantic, but really
it’s that I bought the soap because it smelled like
standing here, the bed waiting empty. Really it’s
when I say I love you, the tap running warm and
filling the drain, I am asking you to
smell the soap. And say it back.
I wrote this piece in an attempt to both understand and portray my relationship with routine, admiration, and adoration. After several drafts, I filmed a reading of it.
Liliana Greyf is a native New Yorker. Her favorite things include small plants, short stories, mint tea and the bagel store across the street from her house. She is passionate about the use of the word "girl."