Thursday, June 3, 2010


by Sandra de Helen

I’m not myself today. Seeing red
because some skinny-assed white
boy jumped in front of me – a
purple basket piled four feet high
with rags smelling of puked-up beer
and grabbed the blanket machine.
I have to wash my grammaw’s heavy quilt.
She’s laying up there in the assisted-living
with her weeping sores, dreaming of
that time she sewed her old man’s
wore out Sunday-go-to-meetin’ suit
into this cover, and I’m sitting here
steamed, breathing Tide and bleach.
Usually I’d soften the old thing up,
remind her of the days we used to
run in the grass, lie in the sun,
bake blueberry pies. Sing the blues.
Instead, green ice pinches my trapezius
and makes my underwire bra ride up.

Days like this it doesn’t pay to get
out of my sleep number bed. Unless
I’m overlooking something? Is there
a soul mate waiting at the next dryer?
Not that jerk. Reading material? Only
an old O magazine. Watchtower brochures.
Alone with my thoughts. An open door
carries fresh damp air, a stranger dripping
with July rain, dropping white socks on the
grimy tile floor. A dangling chenille belt grabs
and she trips. Nearly falls into my lap.
The basket hits my face with a load of
whites. She smacks me with a laugh the
size of Texas. Sorry, thanks for catching me,
she guffaws.

I am brought back to the land of the actual
living, no assistance needed.
I gather my grammaw’s laundry,
and carry it back to her place, in a
brand new blue attitude.