Unburdened

by Kasey Shultz

Gum wall gets naked in early-morning steam cleaning“-Seattle Times

They say if you swallow gum,
It will linger,
Plastered to your stomach lining,
Clinging to your intestines,
A seven-year journey of stickiness.

Left behind beneath desks
Lying in wait for your dress shoes.
Sticky masses plastered to bricks
Like thumb tacks or graffiti
Marking the fact that you were here.

Some lingered threefold,
Graying with age and overshadowed,
While others had barely arrived
Only to fall before scalding jets,
Multicolored globules of germs
Peeling off one by one
Bricks sighing into the steam
Relieved of the weight of incessant tourism,
Naked and clean and unburdened.
Until it begins again.

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