Laundry Kings


Bruce Smith in his poem, “Laundry,” brags that he and his father delivered laundry, that
           Not even the cops who can do anything could do this—
           work on Sunday picking up dirty and delivering clean
           laundry in Philadelphia…
But I wonder, did they do it for 60 pesos, fewer than $4? And, did it smell line-dried, crisped spectacularly by Oaxaca’s sometimes elusive summer sun? And, was it folded with the precision of a dollar bill transformed into an origami elephant or heron? Did they love the clothes more than their owners could?
I didn’t think so.
  • Brag about something mundane, everyday. Brag in bold terms. Boast wildly.


kites in kaiser!As I dream of summer break, I think about how part of winter break was about getting business done: post-Christmas cleaning, pre-tax season and end of semester filing, and dreaded errands and appointments. The most dreaded of these tasks: flu shot and annual mammogram. I try to think strategically. Which one do I want to do least? Which one will hurt the most? The answer is the same, so I go to get the flu short first. I half-lie when the cheerful nurse asks if I am sick. I am at the tail end of a cold, but I am going to cross this visit off my to do list today.


Because this is my first flu shot, “Joy” walks me through the steps verbally: “First I am going to pinch your arm; now, you should feel the cold liquid under the skin. All done.”


I realize two things as she practically offers me a lollipop:

  1. I shouldn’t have made the easy stop first.
  2. That was fast. I have plenty of time; I don’t need to rush to radiology.


So even though I have been lost in my own neighborhood (once or twice), I decide to take a tour through the corridors, mostly to see if I can find color and story, families in the throes of something interesting that I don’t quite understand.


In one of the narrow connecting bridges between buildings, I suddenly enter the blue at almost the same altitude as a soaring lion kite and several sailing others. These kites all seem so much bigger here. I am a small swallow in a fantastic aviary.


No I am not, I’m lost. And I still have to present myself for the mammogram.

kites in kaiser1