Poetry

‘Laundry Day’ and other poems by Andrew Broadous

By: Andrew Broadous

laundry day

Laundry Day

In this psych ward,
the nurse unlocks
the door
with a keycard,
one electric pop,
and as the heavy metal
halts shut, I turn,
peer through a small glass
window.
I see the world
escaping, that
cozy waiting room
with potted olives,
Charlie Chaplin,
my mother and father—
two distant ships
on still waters.

White walls stretch
their nimble arms here,
Bright—
crisp and clean like
linen pinned to the line.
They waver, too.
With every step I take
on tiles white,
white
and
white,
they sway,
billow out
across my vision
while
a thin voice
within
reassures me
that I’ve used
enough bleach
already.
An echo—
Just forget the past.

In this basket
are my secrets.

###

Having It All Together

Your mind is a different story –
a shelf where
the trinkets of
your days
lie in shambles.
You wander there,
step
over
shards
of looking glass,
where you chanced to find
that someone who
you couldn’t call
you. Then you tripped
over dusty building
blocks,
where you
tried
to erect
a better kingdom
for your animals,
found instead a plush
clown crying
a river
and a raindrop.
You don’t
like clowns, but
he’s here
because you
laugh
sometimes.
Here in the slick
black, you have no
orange life vest,
no umbrella,
so you drown with Sobsy
in waters made
of salt.
On your way down
the deep,
deep
Down,
you steal this sultry glance
at
a broken music
box.
Her pretty pink
pirouettes
have long
expired, but you’re hopeful –
too hopeful, perhaps,
that
your ballerina
might
dance for
once in your
lifetime.

###

Somewhere on a Plane between Me and You

The light of harsh evening
makes me squint, so I keep
my left hand pressed to my
forehead like a visor, watch
this plane flit its small silver
wings across the salmon tulle
spreading itself over itself.
In these microscopic windows
smudged with small fingerprints,
an old man from Vietnam discerns earth
from heaven and finds beauty in
what he can and cannot see.
He chooses ginger ale and lightly
salted peanuts over nothing at
all because he wants to treat
himself, at seventy-three, for once
in his life. Even after five children
and seven grandchildren, he never
once questions who he
was or what it was he wanted.
The seatbelt sign flashes overhead,
and a voice mutters, then makes
a joke in the form of a pun.
The two passengers beside this man,
a mother and her young daughter,
do not speak to him. Not because
of a dead war or his sandalwood
cologne or the way his nostrils gently
whistle like air through a closed vent.
Not because he looks at the pinched dark
sky like his wife used to look at him
back when she was alive in her love
and read about dogs doing courageous
feats and made mimosas in the early mornings
after they made love, but because they simply
do not know any of this.
Still, this man reclines ever so slightly,
smiles warmly and earnestly
while the seatbelt sign fades and the metal
bird touches ground, not because he
finds the joke funny after all or that
he’s happy to be back
on earth, but because no one will ever,
ever know what he knows.

Categories: Poetry

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