Folding Laundry

I write while folding laundry
the words rarely escaping my head
to fall onto a page like windfall tomatoes
in furtive moments between feeds
when that bit of stored milk
quenches a thirst but the pull of a hungry mouth
coaxes, conjures more.

I write wrongs while folding laundry
counsel emotionally disturbed
teenagers who only exist in theory
bring down the IMF
champion immigrants’ rights
give various world leaders a talking-to
make permaculture gardens in slums
all this is done by extendible arms
that stretch out tentacle-like
– how much good I could do if
I had a machine to fold laundry for me!

But I like folding laundry
the soothing sense of order
skyscrapers of clean dry fabric
repetitive motions that set thoughts straight
the ambiguity of whether it is
totally meaningless
– it’s only going to get dirty again
and nobody even notices –
or full of meaning
– this is a life of service
that pushes ego to one side
a microcosm of the great cycle
returning to the beginning
each time older, knowing more
about loss and letting go –
and anyway, would I like my clothes
automatically folded
like a frozen pizza
its base machine-extruded
cheese grated and spread by metal
oregano sprinkled without a hand
technically food, but so
starkly unhuman?

So I suppose I won’t get much else done
the world will continue a mess
but at least my wardrobe
won’t be.

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