stars in the trees4
By Karie McNeley

my head
swirls like
a washer cycle;
warm/cool
rinse/spin.

wrapping its
tired thoughts
around the
dizzy middle
of the machine
’til it comes
clean off
and falls
into the hood
of my
tattered
grey
plaid
zip-up
hoodie.

my head
begins to drown
in the current
of the soapy muck
and becomes
waterlogged
and pruned.

as the cycle ends,
the soapy pink water
mixed with ink,
pieces of paper,
and lint,
disappears
as it twirls
down the drain.

the machine beeps.
i open it up
pull out my clothes
by headless instinct
trying not to poke
myself in the eyes.

the cautious maneuvering
doesn’t seem to help.
my decapitated head
tumbles from the laundry
and falls freely
into the cement below.

i pick up my head
from the floor
and then take
one last blind gander
at the thoughtless mass,
toss it back into the washer,
close the lid,
and start another cycle:
hot/hot,
very soiled,
90 extra minutes,
drowning everything
in a frenzy
of spins and suds.

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