#2,819 Sorting Laundry.

I read this poem in my high school AP English textbook and even though I was too young and inexperienced to relate to it, it made my heart seize and I imagined in that instant the feeling of having a life with someone like that. Sunday nights, Ben lugs the clean laundry baskets into the living room and we sit side by side, watching Parenthood, folding and sorting together, putting it all away so we have clean clothes for the very busy week.

“Sorting Laundry” by Elisavietta Ritchie

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, seems 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 tough to discard

even for Goodwill.
In pockets, surprises:

forgotten matches,

lost screws clinking the drain;
well-washed dollars, legal tender

for all debts public and private,

intact despite agitation;
and, gleaming in the 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.