Shake well on a bus station floor your first night without a home.
Pour all your belongings into the backpack you once used for school and place it under your head.
Work yourself into a lather when the locked door rattles, when a deep voice curses at you from the other side, when he tells you what he will do to you when he gets inside.
Rinse with cold water from the bus station’s bathroom sink before you move onto the next concrete floor.
Use all your strength to keep from falling apart daily.
Avoid direct contact with the man who offers you a ride to the downtown shelter. Even though you are not alone. Even though the ones you travel with have more weeks, months, years of this life under their belts than you do. Even though they carry themselves like they are stronger than concrete. You’ve been there when the sun sets, when the darkness stretches wide and you huddle together to make yourselves bigger than the night, big enough to fend off the other animals, and you see that these creatures are just kids who wish they had clean beds and open arms to go home to. You know that this man, bigger than your father, could grab you and take you somewhere even worse than these streets.
If contact occurs, rinse thoroughly with water so hot it sheds all the layers of who you once were and reveals someone new, someone you never thought you would be.
Too much alcohol; not enough time; violence; silence; the next paycheck; history; secrets; blind rage; and blind love.
Does not contain empathy.
Not suitable for sensitive skin.
Made with 100 percent organically grown fear.
Tested on children.
♻ Recycle after use.
Recycle the images of men cornering you at night, men asking if you need a date, men asking if you need a place to sleep for the night, men asking you just how old you are oh, wait maybe don’t tell me, I’d rather not know . Recycle one day into the next, even decades later when you leave the shelter and you are invited to dinner parties and you remember you will never see those recycled kids again in the flesh but you still feel them like suds slinking over your body into the shower drain.