He likes the detergent pods, but I
wear a shirt after and it smells
of swamp or something tidal, dying
against my skin. Like a dog
chasing my tail I try to turn quickly
enough to catch my own scent, try
to smell nothing long enough to smell
something, I open my mouth and ape
the lions using their tongues as scoops
for air and all those invisible spores
and then I realize that I’m inviting
invisible spores to the porous sponge
of my tongue. I shut my mouth.
Cold/cold then hot. I imagine my jeans
feel like me outside in that aching rain
that destroyed my umbrella, felt more
like a slapping wave with water shooting
up my nose than mere rain, and I couldn’t
see except there was a car’s lights and was
it stopped or moving, the light cascading
down the street on the water. Home,
I slipped down in more water, purposefully
despite the wrinkling of my feet in the cold
slosh of my shoes, and boiled.
You cannot forget the clothes
bounding around in the dryer, not here
with that clanking announcement that it
is starting and stopping, and the occasional
roar that seems related to nothing but might
mean the drum is about to slip its tether
and race down the hall, out the door, become
a hamster wheel for the neighbor’s golden,
and leave me shouting Amana! Come back!
I am satisfied with laundry. There is something
in that hot scent of clothes popped
out like a poptart from a toaster.
The sweater would be blue, grey blue
but blue, if you gathered the soft bundles
of lint we grow here and spun them
into an odd, lumping yarn. You would
snug yourself in, be able to hide
in any store’s denim section, disappear
if you were silhouetted against the soft,
close, raining, lowering sky.
Four hampers. It doesn’t seem
as if we have so many clothes but still
we can fill four hampers between two
of us and our hangers are not empty.
As I was hanging a warm shirt, I thought
I should find another like it, but looked
at my closet’s rail, hidden by dozens
of blouses, sweaters, thought of charity
but knew I would only be giving to make
more room for consumption, some Puritanical
impulse making me vow my next purchase
would be something unflattering and cold.