A tattooed couple by the bank
of video games are fondling
each other. Fluorescent lights, lime
green walls haven’t dampened their
ardor. Loud cartoons on the single
TV. The overwhelming scent
of Pine-Sol. A cleaner wonders
aloud about the stupidity
of someone who would use powder
detergent in a slot clearly
marked LIQUID ONLY. Coins clink
into the tray of the change machine.
I open the lid of a washer.
Next to me a young mother,
with two infants and two carts
of clothes, recommends the triple
loader instead. It costs more, but
it’s a better wash. I take her
advice and stuff in two dog beds,
measure out the Tide, plunge quarters
into the box. She returns
to her pile of clothes, smiling,
her babies cooing. Happiness.
It comes on unexpectedly.
It is enough.
Published in The Sky Island Journal, January 2021