Senora Filo’s Washing Machine

Before, if he slept too late or broke
her favorite plate, or looked too long
at some chica in the square,
it made her want to slap him
between her palms like a tortilla.

Instead, she slapped his work pants
on a concrete pila at the public laundry,
nicking her knuckles, rubbing soft cloth
to the rythmn of amigas’ voices
splashing in the morning mist.

Side by side, they pummeled stain and stink,
grinding out grievances, calling out jokes
to drown the sting of careless children,
cruel men, the dirt of daily life, then bore
wet bundles home to hang in the forgiving sun.

Senor bought the machine to make her happy.
“Now she’s mad at me all the time,”
he tells his amigos over mescal,
his worn clothes clean and bright
as he mounts the pickup in the fading light.

About the author

Greta Bolger is a writer and photographer making the most of life in Michigan. Her recent publications include photography in The Raven Chronicles and…

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Issue 07 · November 2009

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