Laundry and Bathrooms

laundry cycles and fluorescent lights take me back
sitting in the stall, listening to the air conditioning
breeze through ceilings, it’s the only place to be alone

out there, groups of small rooms and offices
fake classrooms, and “fake news” even way back then
in the hallways, staff kept to the schedule:
7am wake, 8am breakfast, 9am group
11am lunch, 1pm group, 2pm snack
3pm group, 4pm dinner, 6pm recreation
7pm showers, 8pm bed, 9pm light out

Mom had us doing laundry by five
had a chore chart, cooked, and managed by nine
our washer and dryer was in the pantry with a door
it was the only place to talk while wrapped
in the phone cord and searching for a little privacy
raisin brand, peanut butter, spaghetti, detergent, trash

real school wasn’t much better than the institutions
every hour changed, all the chatter, all the doors
the bell, and back to your seat
bathrooms were an escape there too
at least I could think, and see something real for a moment
even if it was my own face
down the halls, all that electricity
pushed me on right out the door, I was gone by noon
usually started my afternoons laying by the creek

alleyways, and back door avenues
restaurant and gas station bathrooms
ten o’clock was a good hour to go in and freshen up
everyone was at work, or school, or home
no one knocked on the door at ten, am or pm

laundromats only cost a $1.50 and they had sinks
humming lights, clocks that ticked by minute
I could nap against brick walls and soda machines
with my books and quarters and a small sense of safety

today I hear a song when the laundry finishes
like it’s the happiness machine on earth, I sing with it
I pile the clothes on the bed and absorb the warmth
breath in the cleaness, breath in the calm

I hang a soft white towel on the bathroom rack and sit
surrounded in light, gray stone, and plants
still a place I can always hang out a few extra minutes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s