Excerpt Two

Limpia la Ropa

In the laundromat you read books and listen to Chopin.
On both tv’s the same show is playing
at slightly different times, which is why
you try not to forget your headphones. The machines
are half dead and the dryers only run
on high or low. Then it’s nighttime, so the air is sticky,
and the kids are home sleeping instead of playing
about the gum ball machine. If there is a gum ball machine.
When your clothes are done and it’s time to leave, a friendly
cucaracha offers to carry your laundry home,
crossing the street alongside you, even after you’ve declined.
And one day soon you’ll have a dream about that cucaracha, wondering
if it was once a child, once a man—
and under what circumstances, could you ever end up like that?

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