#1,465 Sorting Laundry.

I was digging deep into my computer’s memory in search of a save-the-date design I did for a wedding a few years ago (it was apparently lost in the great crash of 2009), but I did find this poem that I so loved in high school—I actually typed it and saved it after stumbling upon it in my literature reader. At the time I loved it even though I couldn’t actually relate, but now I can… And it’s even more beautiful to me. I will go ahead and call it my favorite poem, in fact. What do you think?

Sorting Laundry

folding clothes,
I think of folding you
into my life

our king-sized sheets
like tablecloths
for the banquets of giants

pillowcases, despite so many
washings, seams still
holding our dreams

towels patterned orange and green,
flowered pink and lavender,
gaudy, bought on sale

reserved we said, for the beach
refusing, even after years,
to bleach into respectability

so many shirts and skirts and pants
recycling week after week, head over heels
recapitulating themselves

all those wrinkles
to be smoothed, or else
ignored; they’re in style

myriad uncoupled socks
which went paired into the foam
like those creatures in the ark

and what’s shrunk
is too tough to discard
even for Goodwill

in pockets; surprises:
forgotten matches,
lost screws clinking on enamel

paper clips, whatever they held
between shiny jaws, now
dissolved or clogging the drain

well-washed dollars, legal tender
for all debts public and private,
intact despite agitation

and gleaming in maelstrom,
one bright dime,
broken necklace of good gold

you brought from Kuwait,
the strangely tailored shirt
left by a former lover..

if you were to leave me,
if I were to fold
only my own clothes,

the convexes and concaves
of my blouses, panties, stockings, bras
turned upon themselves,

a mountain of unsorted wash
could not fill
the empty side of the bed.

-Elisavietta Ritchie