While eating miniature tangerines
I watch my soggy clothes twirl
Soap foam rising—too much laundry powder—
Almost snowing, last night’s rain
Puddled under the trees still flaunting
Their torn and faded leaves.
Each cycle is self-determined—
How much water
How many minutes
Fill, now empty, now re-fill
Pausing between each act I can choose:
Let the water overflow, agitate before it’s time
Stop to peel more fruit, stare at the huddled
Children plodding to the school gate.
Now it’s spinning time and if the load
Isn’t balanced precisely it kicks
Like those Przenalski horses we visited,
Angry and biting
I lean on the machine to calm it
Water draining on the cement floor
This morning dark and barren, blouses hanging
Over the sink.
I have decided to buy an automatic washer.

Emily Strauss has an MA in English, but is self-taught in poetry. Nearly
200 of her poems appear in over 100 online venues and in anthologies.
The natural world is generally her framework; she often focuses on the
tension between nature and humanity, using concrete images to
illuminate the loss of meaning between them. She is a semi-retired
teacher living in California.