Monday, November 12, 2012

I ride Greyhound

by Ellie Schoenfeld


because it's like being

in a John Steinbeck novel.

Next best thing is the laundromat.

That's where all people

who would be on the bus if they had the money

hang out. This is my crowd.

Tonight there are cleaning people appalled

at the stupidity of anyone

who would put powder detergent

into the clearly marked LIQUID ONLY slot.

The couple by the vending machine

are fondling each other.

You'd think the orange walls

and fluorescent lights

would dampen that energy

but it doesn't seem to.

It's a singles scene here on Saturday nights.

I confide to the fellow next to me

that I suspect I am being taken

in by the triple loader,

maybe it doesn't hold any more

than the regular machines

but I'm paying an extra fifty cents.

I tell him this meaningfully

holding handfuls of underwear.

He claims the triple loader

gives a better wash.

I don't ask why,

just cruise over to the pop machine,

aware that my selection

may provide a subtle clue.

I choose Wild Berry,

head back to my clothes.


Reprinted from Good Poems, American Places

edited by Garrison Keillor, Penguin Books, 2011.

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