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Dirty Socks

I passed out on the floor again
In the middle of the day, homework out,
Drowned in the dreams that my mind
Couldn’t find time for in the night.
The kind that leave you searching
For the thing you dreamt of hiding somewhere
In the closet, still snickering. Because
Even awake and freely moving,
You still cannot hit him with your aunt’s slipper
Like she instructed. So you tremble to believe
That he will continue to wander unpunished
And alive through your dirty clothes and
Secret letters stacked in your mother’s old basket,
Stealing your sanity and your fondest memories.
So maybe he gets away. And you are left with that
Ugly fuzzy pink slipper and no weirdo in a Tigger suit
To hit with it mercilessly. But you can sit back against
Your hand-me-down dresser and recollect,
Fearing that maybe he had a lifetime effect-
That you could never again enter the laundry room alone.
But wasn’t that to be expected when all your dreams
Fear a laundry room? Perhaps it was the fear of reliving
The lives that those clothes suffered through.
Or the smell of the fabric softener that had once helped you
Breathe, now just exists to haunt you.
I don’t know about you, but I hate laundry rooms.
I once had dreams of evil teenage babysitters
Planning my murder in my mother’s laundry room.
I couldn’t sleep, then. I couldn’t gather the nerve to dump
That basket of dingy sweaters and socks that had once smelled
Of lilacs and lavender and mother into that forsaken
Hole behind the master bath that acted like it was
A room in it’s own but could never muster the comfort.
So for a while, I walked through the humid summer days,
Wearing stained T-shirts and my little brother’s thick socks
Because the memories of the laundry room
Pounded on the membrane that was meant to protect
My weary mind, asking me why I was such a baby
At age seven when all the other kids did their own laundry.
I hope it’s not a metaphor. Too much like that folder that I tore
In two weeks from over-wear and lack of care,
I am too prone to wrinkled pieces and holes. I will learn
That lilacs are again wonderful and that musky perfume
That my mother wore is sweeter to another nose
And it’s okay to be afraid of laundry rooms but not
To let that Tigger suit man win nor those b****y
Teenage sociopaths or that thing that breathes in the closet
When the lights go out or when I let my head slip
On the floor beside my homework in the middle of the day.




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