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Anna Elena Eyre

you are in grandma’s
                                 house as she is
away and you must
                          go into the basement
to do laundry
                       the house is
                   and full of dead /
                                       you tell yourself not to
pay attention
                   though the empty does not
appear you’re sure
                        that it means harm

and change loads catch breath /

your two step sisters are
                               in trouble with father
you offer
            them your word

take responsibility
                         for blood stain /
wear white socks as mittens
                                        chant sutras you’re unsure
the words of
                 and paw mouth
when those you
                    recognize as devotional
come to add in
                   instruments /
                                      later after teaching young
man pickle appreciation
                                      to erase finger outlines
you wash clothed / closed digits
                                in hand basin
                                              you add in other people’s garments
sure to separate
                                   lights from darks and
therein realize there’s a red
                                       rag left to thread pink
                                                                   into careful full burst suds

what have you tobeafraidof—thereis nothing there. yourbackisturned and you’resure
its encroaching. youmustdo your chores—wash the underwear. remember where. the
story noone speaksof. makeup the story noonetoldyou in detail. all you know to rely
onare the details. what canyoudo but makeitup. the actuality is nowhere told
norcanyou ask for the telling. no hardevidence. evenif careful with dirtylaundry just
one miscellaneouspiece left inbasin by anotherset of handscanruin second skin—the
fashion put on to coverup embarrassment offorgotten or unlearnedSanskrit chants.
mistaken yourpalms for yoursoles. because youare notofhis blood youknow that
hecannot hurt you as much asoris this a trick your bloodlesskin had no part in offering.
up. and youwill be pinkhanded caughtinthe pickle jar corrupting innocenttongue to the
pleasure of bightandsnap after long float in distilledbrine.

Anna Elena Eyre

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