A Study of Peeling - Ava Boudreau

You peel off your jeans

Sweat clings to them with its sticky hands

You kick them aside in a crumpled heap

Sliding your shirt up your hot back

You toss that too

I can’t see it but I can hear the clothes

Slump onto the floor

Leaving only you

A damp you

Then words start to pour out of your throat

Deep, vibrating, purring like an engine

They slip under the bathroom door

And cascade into my ears like chords on a violin

The door creaks; you must be leaning on it now

The toilet lid chills my thighs

(Come on sexy, you’re so beautiful just let me in, we could have a fun time babe, come on)


The paint on my side of the door is peeling off

In musty strips

And white flakes tinted yellow on the edges

I pull on a piece

It floats to the tile

Leaving crusty beige sprinkles on my fingertips

Your voice is starting to have a sharp edge,

It gives my ears paper-cuts,

The smooth violin misses a note

If I keep picking at the door

Chip off all the white paint

Maybe it will be able to breathe again,

So I do the same for myself

(Let me in already will ya, open up, come on just let me touch you; you are so beautiful)


I slowly peel the skin on my wrists

To the rhythm of your voice

Like savoring a cigarette drag

But with blood instead of smoke

One for every mistake that brought me here

Tears grasp onto my cheeks as they roll off

Leaving moist handprints

If I keep carving I can find the real me

The real me

Not a pulp

You’re still humming out staccato sentences

From the other side of the door

(You’re so hot babe, let me in, come on already, open up, let me in; let me in, sexy)


I keep leaking

Your words start to sound like feral growls

The door is becoming a patchwork mess

All peeling

Peeling jeans

Peeling paint

Peeling skin

Soon we will all be peeled too thin