wash with a mild soap and warm water [poem by Ben Newell]

It bothered Amy that I was underemployed,
that I had a master’s degree
yet worked a joke job
requiring “some college”—
She accused me of being fearful of failure
when really it was/is an utter lack of
professional ambition,
said lack no barrier to my owning a washer & dryer,
saving Amy many a trip
to the Laundromat where, she claimed, some creep
had watched her from
inside his car—
“Baby,” I said, “he was probably just waiting
for his clothes to dry.”
“No,” she said, “this guy was really weird;
he was definitely up to no good.”
And listening to Amy’s story as her dirty undergarments
went round and round, I found myself
wanting to meet
the Laundromat creep;
he sounded like a much more interesting person
than my girlfriend, who eventually married
a theatre set designer
and moved away, leaving behind
a single sock
I sometimes use
whenever I’m too lazy to clean
my Sasha Grey Pocket


Ben Newell is a forty-something library clerk in the Jackson, Mississippi area; his poems have appeared in Carcinogenic Poetry, LUMMOX, Negative Suck, Nerve Cowboy, Yellow Mama, and other underground publications.

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