Late Laundry

Where laundry goes to dry.
Where laundry goes to dry.

Hot water dripping from

Leaky electric boilers,

Cooled with splashes

From aquifers beneath

Spry weeds and cattle steps,

Culled cautiously and stored

In Soviet plasticware.

Powdered soap bubbles

Like a witch’s cauldron

Transforming gold

Into lead as if reverse

Alchemy was the dream

Contained in the

Plastic tub.

Wringing heavy, sopping

Cloth and fabric,

The grip of my thumb

Stinging the palm as

Currents race down

Gangly limbs,

Callousing the tips

Of all my fingers.

I hang the guilty,

Now purged of their sin,

From clips on a line

That dangles effortlessly

Form a thresher’s tooth,

Allowing them to fly

With no destination,

Only a journey.

I return inside to dry

My wrinkled, sore digits,

Taking a bit of cloth

Sent to me from back home,

Used as padding

To secure more delicate

Equipment from the future.

Soft and well-kept,

Not a thread out of place,

Not a stain to be seen,

I bury myself within it,

Suffocating all my senses

With memories of what

Was left behind.

Memories of sun-soaked

Afternoons in cooled cars,

Speeding up and down

Wide, flat roads to reach

Familiar faces and warm embraces.

Thoughts of wooden fences

Neat and orderly,

Unlike here.

Visions of white tile floors

Where we would walk about

Our lives unaware of how

The impressions we would

Leave in that house

Would come back suddenly

As I wiped the sweat from

My face having just

Finished the laundry.

Composed 07/08/2012

Author’s Note: Nothing quite like washing your clothes by hand in a plastic tub. I imagine it’s an experience just about every Peace Corps volunteer experiences at least once in their service. My family’s clothes line was held up by a post and a massive rusted thresher. I rather enjoyed that clothesline.

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