Cleansing Ritual

I wash my face with products
I never thought I could afford.

Press clear gel into my palms,
swirl warm water and splash:

think about the summer days
coming home from the barn,

sweating, speckled in mud, no running

The horse buckets were much colder
than this.

I look at my face, stretch my skin
to examine the scars—

remnants of returning chicken pox,
a burn from Dad’s cigarette,

tiny strawberry craters Mom pointed out
for fun.

These marks have faded now, but still
I wash and wash and wash.