Whites on the left, reds on the right,
Darks in the middle, the odour of sweat;
The two-weekly cycle to the launderette.
In wash-baskets arranged, all unfolded, a mess
A wipe of the nose and the eyes will diffuse
The three-way assault as she puts on her shoes.
For a time we are motherless, basketless, nude
Until two hours later the baskets are back;
Fruit fragrance, whites whiter, reds redder, blacks black.
Now this time a suitcase replaces the basket
The clothes are arranged by their colours no more
And a strange man will carry them through the front door.
That wipe of the nose won’t dispel the regret;
Like a tickle in the throat, it will linger behind
Those clothes won’t be coming back again, not this time.