Laundry

A/N: I now have an incredible appreciation for people who manage to write creatively on a regular basis while juggling busy college lives. How do they do it?

I.
It all comes out in the wash:
Bloodstains, wine spills,
Lipstick, accidents,
Everyday catastrophes.

Dusty ambitions, forgotten passions,
Failed relationships, accidents,
The smell of him on your sheets.

Dirt roads, sweat,
Airport dust, accidents,
The weariness of escape.

II.
The laundromat always feels nostalgic,
As if all your memories surface
Only to disappear in the rinse cycle.
Sometimes it’s a good thing:
Pour your detergent,
Shove in your fabric and regrets,
Watch the way everything blurs together.

But me, I can’t help but fall in love with clothes
That have memories clinging to them:
Campfire songs from smoky jeans,
Swimsuits and the dreams of fish,
There’s even a fondness for old chili stains.
(Only, I don’t eat chili,
(So what is that on my sweater?)

III.
And I think my socks agree with me
When I say I don’t particularly mind not washing things:
Putting pairs into the wash is like the opposite of marriage counselling
And the divorce rate among my socks has gotten terribly high.

IV.
And I think my shirts would agree as well
Because sometimes I’ll forget to separate them
And the coloured ones will bleed into my whites
Just like how I forget to separate my memories
And they will all bleed into each other
There are some shirts that I can’t believe were once white
There are some memories that I can’t distinguish anymore.

V.
Really, I’m just making excuses:
I tend to forget why we have to wash these things.
Maybe you tend to forget too.

Maybe the bloodstains are the hardest to get out.
Maybe it’s because you can’t stop thinking about
How he left you open on that operating table,
How you let him touch inside of you,
How he had his hands in your chest
And how it hurt,
How he stitched you up wrong afterwards
So you had to take your shaky hands
And make yourself new again.

Or maybe the dust is the hardest to get out.
Maybe all you can hear these days is the sound of suitcase wheel on tired carpet
And even more tired conscience.
Every flight takes you farther away from where you wanted to be.
You call yourself a horizon-chaser
But you don’t look up from your feet enough for that to be true.
You can’t honestly tell anyone what the sky looks like in other places
Though you can say that every country has stones that look far too weary.

Or maybe it’s that weird, darkish stain on the inside of your coat pockets.
You know you must’ve left something in there for far too long
But can’t seem to remember what.
Chocolate? Tar?
Both sticky,
But one a sweetness that you forgot you had until it was too late
And one a murkiness, a defilement, something you have to shoulder.
Whatever it is, it has seeped into the inner folds
Until your hands cannot distinguish where the coat ends and it begins.

VI.
I’ve never been good at doing my own laundry.
I’ve yet to meet someone who is.
Maybe this life is just messy
Or maybe it’s just us.