Today, a poem


A load of washing ends the cycle

with a bang of the old workhorse.

The basket is ready for my catch of the day:

pants, socks, smalls of various hues of greying black and navy.

I pull them out one by one. A snowstorm starts.

Fine soft flecks stuck on the twisted rungs of underwear and tracksuit chords,

embedded in the folds, the creases.

Wads of white sodden paper peppering the mound of wet darkness.

“I don’t use tissues”, my husband says from the kitchen.

Crumpled white is always stuffed into my back pockets.

Small packets hide in prams,  bags. I always grab

a serviette, or a paper towel when I leave café tables,  change rooms, houses.

When I was small, my babushka always carried:

a hanky, and

a piece of cottonwool

in her bra.

(We didn’t have tissues in the USSR. It was a ‘deficit’, as we used to say.)

I carry a tissue in my bra nowadays, if pockets or bags are unavailable.

Because of:

runny noses,

sticky mouths and hands,

messes on tables,

dripping gelatos, or just

suddenly something somewhere sloppy, slippery, slimy, slobbered over.

The balcony is a snow dome of slowly circling flakes.

I get out the dustpan brush,

telling myself to check the pockets next time for the thousandth time.

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