Spinning the Cycles
I sort laundry
so I can dump
clothes like sins,
into a pile.
I separate the light
from the dark and heap
colorful ones aside.
I hold a baptism
in my washer
where I believe
Jesus is inside
carrying the burden,
lifting stains away
so I can take
a load off, rest
in the almighty
presence of being
clean and white as snow.
Sometimes when I wash the whites
I add baking soda, bleach,
pre-treat armpits and collars
with brightening toothpaste. I soak
socks with undies waiting for
the great white hope to alter
clothes a brighter shade of gray.
Sometimes, I want to throw in
the towel or some crotchless
panties with scarlet red bows
so everything could turn out
rosy and pink for a change.
3. (Permanent Press)
I'm at the Wash and Suds for the first time
in years and nothing's changed. I am down
to my last pair of knickers and knee socks,
things I'll need before daybreak. People drip
in last night's dander while pubic hair pools
in the warm shed of skin and sweat. I close
my eyes and recline in a coral peach
plastic chair. The air is humid, balmy
and tropical as a sun drenched seashore.
I breathe in the damp salt air, listen to
the whirring water and sigh in the smell
of human flesh mixing in with the Tide.
Behind the glass curtain of our washing
machine they whisper quietly, gurgle
and murmur in foamy whispers. Our clothes
are at it again, turned on and taking
risks without our consent or approval.
They're stripped of inhibitions, bubbling
in excitement. My blouse tumbles open
and your jeans unbutton. Clothes devour clothes,
twisting like vines, tangled up like blossoms
of a Kama Sutra lotus flower.
Your red tie becomes loose and slips under
my short skirt, laps up the slippery suds
from my thigh high stockings. My lace panties
rub up against your bulging blue boxers.
Clothes are being used, having flings that turn
them upside down and inside out. They beat
to a steal drum of their own, revolving
in the very fabric of their being.
When they come full circle, they lie breathless.
limp and drained in a heap. I want to come
clean with you, share the whole sordid affair.
5. (Hand wash)
Along the Ganges river banks
are a a rainbow of saris, sun
drying in branches, stiff along
the stone steps, weaving saffron,
Indigo and rubies through grass.
In the dark ribbons of water,
there's a woman in a parrot
green and blue peacock sari.
Her dress spreads like sea blue wings
hemmed in by emeralds and gold.
She wades among the boaters
and bathers, hair flowing in soft
river curls. Her eyelashes fan
open and her smoky gray eyes
circled in black kohl awakens
the spirit of the Mother.