Issue > Poetry
Esteban Rodriguez

Esteban Rodriguez

Esteban Rodríguez is the author of Dusk & Dust (Hub City Press 2019), Crash Course (Saddle Road Press 2019), (Dis)placement (Skull Wind Press 2020), and the micro-chapbook Soledad (Ghost City Press 2019). His poetry has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, New England Review, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. He lives with his family and teaches in Austin, Texas.

Cleanse


After Dolly downed the clothesline,
turned the ground inside out, my mother
dragged me to the laundromat, where together,
like henchmen hiding evidence, we stuffed
a washer with dirty clothes, hoping no one
would see our skid marks, soda spills,
the grease unable to love the heat
from a frying pan. And there was old blood,
dry sweat, pit stains and blots of piss
on underwear we should have thrown away,
but didn't, thinking that everything
could be cleansed, or at least changed,
become as bright pink as the panties I found
when, at home, in charge of folding a load,
I picked them from the pile, knowing
they weren't my mother's, but wishing
they were, and picturing her at night,
when we were all in bed, slipping
into them, ready to feel what felt so right
on someone else's skin.

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