Benedicto de Jesus, "Laundry Night," 2015
Around the corner, the faint grape Kool-Aid smell of mountain laurel; leaning close then backing off: a bee! Woodpeckers on a palo verde, a pair, chittering at me as a warding- off. It works; I keep walking. Around another corner, vent and a body blow: linens baking in some industrial dryer, hauling me off my feet backwards to a limbic, layered memory. Chinese laundromats shimmed between old apartment buildings. A rust-pocked delivery van, double-parked, fat as a sturgeon, doors propped open for its dry pale roe: bundles of threadbare cloth napkins. Secret halls in one hotel where small women trundle past, carts heaped with soiled sheets taken for a future transubstantiation: from blued and starched cotton, to a bed where we’ll cast off our own laundry, consecrate one another with our skin.