Laundry

1

To love purely is to consent to distance. (Simone Weil)

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The laundry is stacked, every piece segregated
into light and dark, and with ajudicious eye
for quirks and nuances, you pick those which
needed to be soaked in bleach and soap.
The others

you toss to the washing machine, the spinning
whirlpool of detergent rising into pure foam.
The sun came up today, but the scent of dark
grey rain comes in undulating portents.
There is

blue smoke from the house across the river. You
regard the heap of clothes at your feet, your faithful
gofers waiting for your benediction, a rinse of
cleaner waters. You think: It is going
to rain soon. He

is miles away, beyond the grey rain. Your eyesfondle
the soft, sweaty fabric of a shirt; you see that it is the
right size that would have fitted him. And longing is
a frayedman-sized shirt you hold in
your arms, and

it is hisarms, neck, chest. The washing machine
is juddering with your segregated clothes. You
thinkyou caught a whiff ofhis scent, but it is
onlythe musk of impending rain. You squint

at the sky, and dark clouds are marching towards
thesouth, a legionin battle formation.

Forlorn, you catch yourself as if in a trance, clutching a shirt to your
heart. You let it go to the spinning whirlpool of soap.

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