22 | Twenty Seconds | Recording the Unholy Noise My Car Makes with My Phone While It Makes It

Twenty Seconds

In the twenty seconds I must count while washing my hands,
I think of the small bubbles and their messy magic
to absolve all the harm I’ve carried into this house—

my sink an altar to rid my sins since gathered,
palms rubbing and wringing in prayer,
slipping over one another to suds up some salvation,

each knuckle now a rosary bead,
fingers working where the ring once was,
scrubbing the pale mark like monks scouring an abbey floor,

as I wait a few more moments to make sure
I allow the grace of tiny forgiving miracles
to keep happening and happening and happening.


Recording the Unholy Noise My Car Makes with My Phone While It Makes It

It wasn’t quite
possession.

Like me, it sounded
something heartsick,

and to the mechanic
I confessed some sin like:

Listen, Jesus—forgive me,
but I have no room

in this life for one more
thing I can’t explain.


Aaron Sandberg resides in Illinois where he teaches. His recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Asimov’s Science Fiction, English Journal, Drunk Monkeys, The Racket, Writers Resist, Yes Poetry, Unbroken, perhappened mag, One Sentence Poems, Vita Brevis Press, Literary Yard, and elsewhere. You might find him—though socially-distant—on Instagram @aarondsandberg.