DELICATES

The image in the mirror doesn’t beg me
to look back much anymore
– but I do listen. Home: after petting hello
to the pooch and unlacing both shoes,

I slip immediately out of my ironed
and pleated skin. Plucking lukewarm clothing
from the dryer’s lifeless mouth, I fold all which lies
within – only to unfold by sunrise. I once made
my daughter’s bed in this way, too:
perpetually in a state of undress.

Back behind those bleach-white walls each evening,
I remove infantile blue jeans and forever
stainless blouses with frill like eyelashes, socks
too small to even have bothered buying. Some days

I think the dryer has made my wife’s clothing
into miniatures… but then I remember
the endless cycle I go through often
– of running my daughter’s clothes
once more. She’s gone from here, yet

I still stand holding her gown. The covers:
the skin of her skin. How clean
her wardrobe cannot become
is no matter. Only the adults played dress-up:
on that Monday, draped in her finest,
she let us throw dirt in her eyes.

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