Laundry and Bathrooms

laundry cycles and fluorescent lights take me back

sitting in the stall, listening to the air conditioning

breeze through ceilings, a 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

chore chart, cooked, managed by nine

laundry was in the pantry, a place to talk


wrapped in the phone cord, shutter door closed

starring at raisin brand, peanut butter,

spaghetti, detergent, trash


real school wasn’t much better than institutions

there was a bell every hour, all the chatter

all the doors 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 only my own face


school halls, yep, all that electricity

pushed me right out the door, gone by noon

to start my afternoons laying by the creek,

not far from the grounds 


alleyways, and back door venues

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 put me to sleep

I could nap against brick walls and soda machines

with my books and quarters and a small sense of safety


today, in my house, I hear a song when the laundry finishes

like it’s the happiness on earth to have washed the clothes

I sing with it then pile the clothes on the bed, absorb the warmth

breath in the cleanness, breath in the calm


I hang a soft white towel on the bathroom rack

surrounded in light, gray stone, and plants

still a place I can always hang out a few extra minutes

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