Tuesday Poem

Getting Laundry Done in Rampur

Dobiwallah, please take my socks;
these ragged trousers and shirts;
and the shalwar kameez I bought
in the town upstream of here
between one bus and the next.

Beat them clean for me. Hurl them
into the cold waters, against
sharp-edged volcanic rocks — don’t let
the fear of crowding, the stupid words
spilled as answers to strangers
stay in their cloth. Hammer it out.

If a button comes off the shirt,
let it float all the way past Agra
(if they let such a tourist
so close to the Taj Mahal for free).
Let it come to Delhi and be gathered
by a hand glad for one more thing
the river brings. I will follow.

by Hanna Coy
from You Are Here, 2010

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