PTSD Poetry: Last Wash

 Last Wash

Last Wash, 9 p.m.,

One command too many.

Life shouldn’t be rigid at 9:15 p.m.

Unless someone wants to kill you.

My tired fingers stiffen with dirty clothes

Raised above the washer.

I look around before letting go.

Someone comes behind me.

“Power shuts off at 9:45 a.m, done or not.”

I respond to the tobacco breath on my neck.

By inserting coins, each a burst of fire

In this God forsaken laundromat

Where I am the only customer.

I push the button hard,

Water gushes below

While a wall clock above

Gives me 30 minutes

To calm the anger

That never lets me rest,

Anger aimed at unseen enemies

In the world of the last wash

And other injustices.

Later with a plastic bag

Of wet clothes, I wander into the night,

A wobbly Santa Claus

In search of someone to comfort me,

A soul who will put my gifts

Into a dryer and pour a glass of wine.

Can my eyes convey this need

As the streets become deserted,

Or, is this expectation the work

Of a crazed mind rearranging reality

Before sleep takes over?

A beautiful woman opens the door to a tall gray building.

“This way,” she says softly.

I climb the stairs

With the sack


My bent back.

At the top an open door leads to a large dryer

Next to a small table with two glasses of red wine.

“Your travels are over tonight,” she says.

I shiver in the morning light,

Diffused by a misty windshield.

The bag of clothes, still wet,

On the floor board of my home.

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