Poem: “The Washing Machine”


The Washing Machine

I complain about the laundry
more than my dirty clothes deserve.
It’s a matter of functionality
to wash clothes.
I mean, it’s not like
I’m beating anything against
a rock in the blazing sun.

I just use some detergent
that I bought because it was
on sale, or I paid a lot
for because it smelled good and
I dump it on top of the jeans
unless I remember it’s better
to put it in first, before the clothes.

Then I leave and forget the clothes
until I can’t pretend to forget anymore,
and move them into the dryer,
where I’ll really forget and have to set it
again to warm up the clothes
to get rid of the wrinkles, and
I feel like my life
is a never-ending cycle
always spinning and spinning in place.

But it’s not.

It’s like taking the towels
out while they’re still
hot and fluffy and smelling
of fabric softener or some
imaginary scent of mountain
air or spring blooms.

It’s squeezing into tight jeans
that remember to stretch
in the right places after
wearing them a few minutes —
the shirt, not quite threadbare
that’s warm in the winter
and cool in the summer.

It’s a pair of socks that
are stretchy and soft and
make me smile.

It’s the hum of activity
and the whoosh of the cycle,
tumbling and jumbling,
and making things good again.

María Morera Johnson


About Author

María Morera Johnson teaches composition and literature at a technical college in Georgia, and consults and writes about trends in post-secondary education. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Star Quest Production Network (sqpn.com) and co-hosts Catholic Weekend, a weekly current events podcast.