A Laundromat on California Avenue

Given the Garden of Eden
Inside a laundromat,
Shirts spun floral colors
And, contented, hummed.

Beyond the vine-coarse windows
Wound through with light,
Greystones grind their teeth
Against the next cascade.

Stained plaster drop ceilings,
The fresco of exile in wet clothes,
With all the flowers on all the vines,
Screaming their disappointment.

The stranger there shrank in her body
Stubbornly, displacing volume,
The overflow lapping northwest
Along a blue vein.

A letter came from the time
Of letter writing. She read each line,
Thrilling in transparent understanding
Before the dryer cycled through.

Eroding to plain skin
With all the force of floods,
This home we had: mailboxes, new keys,
Nameless things growing.