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afternoon laundry

Rachel Jan

Dallas, TX

The Hockaday School


CAS for Database

it’s an old habit, something instinctual

to cleanse yourself after a storm

in the shower you scrub at your skin

as if getting rid of your lingering aches

were as easy as filing dirt from

under your nails. it’s a holy awakening,

to trace the ghost of his touch

with soap and water

were you able to rip your own ribs out

and polish them shining you would

you stopped by the Laundromat before dinner,

went through the motions ­— counted out

quarters, poured detergent —

in the washing machine bone masks

fold like silk in water. the heart

you stitched onto your jacket sleeve

spins under denim and disappears


Like all that happens when we close the door to the washing machine, there is a palpable urgency, churning and alive in afternoon laundry.


Rachel Jan is a 15-year-old member of the Class of 2022 at the Hockaday School in Dallas, TX. She enjoys reading and writing as much as the next Polyphony Lit contributor, but besides that, she also likes playing the cello and drawing in her free time.

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