Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
The Sorrow of Small Laundry

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Her red pajama pants with stars and penguins
sprawl on top of the heap. Some penguins wear
ear muffs. SLEEP TIGHT chases itself around
the waistband. What if sleep, size 6, chased

and caught itself. I'm trying to say it's laundry
day. I'm trying to say on my basement floor
there always grows a hated hill of tangled clothes
worn by those I love most fiercely. For example,

a blue mock short sleeve shirt with long sleeves
attached that says "one heart awesome sister
heart" in silver glitter on its chest clings to my
jeans, my husband's heather gray sweatshirt.

This laundry, its sweat, occasional glitter, stains,
traces of some recess game I didn't witness
and meals I made but forgot. The job is to erase
mud, sauce, and grass but keep the glitter.

What if her sister. What if the heart. What if
mud, sauce, and grass meant glitter. Go ahead,
imagination, try to wash this monument to loss.


Farah Marklevits is a poet and helps direct The Reading/Writing Center at Augustana College in RockĀ Island, IL. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Forklift, Ohio, All We Can Hold, Fifth Wednesday Journal, The Carolina Quarterly, and other places. She has an M.F.A. from Syracuse University and an M.A.T. from University of Chicago. She lives in Iowa with her family.


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