Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Dirty Laundry

Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Dirty Laundry

Article excerpt

August 2017

The town's dilapidated Laundromat

Is packed this morning with a crowd of men

And women, hauling bulky laundry sacks-

A full month's worth, in fact. It's Saturday,

The last one of the month, the day when all

The members of our church's outreach team

Provide the rolls of quarters so that they,

The patrons of the joint, don't have to pay

To wash away the dirt and lives they've stained.

It's only once a month that I work there,

Unpaid for half a day, to emulate

My far more saintly friends by stuffing coins

Into the washers, sixteen at a time,

Until their cycles end; then time to dry

Their flannels, socks, quilts, shirts, and soggy sheets

Until my fingers stiffen at day's end

And I feel lifted by each soft "thank you"

Muttered by the humble denizens

Of Betty's Laundromat, though what we've done

Seems slight, in retrospect, now having seen

The marks of poverty-the toothless smile,

The sunburned flesh, the stunted child, the boy

Who looks malnourished as his mother flirts

With meth-heads, flashing their addictive wares,

The broken home, the unemployed . …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.