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.