OCTOBER 24, 2022

The Palette of Venom, Vomit, and Paint

Raindrops spatter on the wooden windowsill,

disturbing the brown recluse that nestled in its cobwebs.

I, with faulty rollerblades for feet, stretch both arms

inside the bathroom stall; flattening both clammy palms

on the wall’s black ink and acrylic paint—

its artwork is now undone, smudged, and smeared.

I retract my hands and swivel, slide, and slip on the ceramic floor

before I grab onto the granite sink, and remove a bronze leaf

from the bottom of my dirt-encrusted sneaker.

The mirror is an aspiring impressionist painting: a beige oval above the shoulders,

and brushstrokes of red swirling in the eye sockets.

I look away, bobbling my head downwards.

My fingers are now steady on the faucet’s silver handles.

The ceiling lights, flickering in their amber tint, begin to clear

as their fog-like blur dissipates: all appears somewhat calm

until burning, bubbling liquids burst out from my throat.

The cauldron of the bathroom sink spins with tap water,

unidentifiable pink chunks, and yellow fluid.

I wipe my mouth on my sleeve, scrubbing and scrubbing

until something subtle nudges my left thigh; rendering me as still as a muse,

posing for the eight-legged prodigy. It continues crawling, creeping

over my pockets and belt as it searches for a blank canvas—flesh for its pointed brushes.

George Espinoza is an undergraduate student who resides on Long Island, New York. When he’s not poring over his keyboard, he’s grudgingly running in unpleasant weather, daydreaming about food, or watching families of geese generate ample traffic. His favorite poets are Ted Kooser, Savannah Brown, Ocean Vuong, and Ada Limón.