Illustrated by: Ashley Anthony
Doing laundry you might lose me
as coins in the pockets of corduroy overalls,
clinking and chiming, worthy, shiny.
Washed down the drain, I could fall
to the back of the machine, down the s-bend
to some damp but clean nook where I might
wonder how your clothes were with mine blended.
You might find that, in the dim fluorescent light,
you’ve replaced me with someone else’s sweater or panties.
You might reach into your pockets for change to pay for a date
and know I’m gone and moved on. I hope you miss those pennies
and I hope you never stop waiting for the washer to quit spinning.
I could whirl through the dryer and emerge without your
ugly passion red tainting me and the heat would
hiss and thrum and I would not forget myself on the floor.
I hope someone forgets you on the floor and you wake up one day,
victim underneath the countertop in the laundromat.
Like toeless socks pillaged from gaudy plastic shelves,
once entire but today weary and frayed and shoved
into an unceasing torrent of exhaustion, detergent, joy, gels;
I tiptoe this clothesline, unraveled and untrusting. The stains
of the year have been removed from me, and if my guard
comes down you might mislay me again in the laundry, I may
wake one day in the lint trap with everything else you discarded.