Wash Day at St. Joseph’s Shelter

The man hanging laundry heaves
the wet sheet like an offering
onto the line where it hangs,
wet cocoon tugging at the line.
It is just one in a sea of sheets
and pajamas. Here we are,
stitching the world together,
our work held up with clothespins,
spring-loaded. Next week’s laundry
will be piled as high as today’s. We
are not here to change the world,
but here to love. The man next to me
lugs another sheet and wrestles
it into place, and shrugs. Among
the pillowcases, a whiff of alcohol.
And yet, was there ever
a transformation
worth writing home about
without first love?

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