Doing Laundry In Budapest

The dryer, uniform and squat as a biscuit tin,
came to life and turned on me its insect eye.
My t-shirts and underwear crackled and leapt.
I was a tourist there; I didn’t speak the language.
My shoulders covered themselves up in churches,
my tongue soothed its burn with slices of pickle.
More I don’t remember: only, weekends now
when I stand in the kitchen, sorting sweat pants
and pairing socks, I remember the afternoon
I did my laundry in Budapest, where the sidewalks
bloomed with embroidered linen, where money
wasn’t permitted to leave the country.
When I close my eyes, I recall that spinning,
then a woman, with nothing else to sell,
pressing wilted flowers in my hands.

Poem copyright ©2014 by Anya Krugovoy Silver, “Doing Laundry in Budapest,” from I Watched You Disappear: Poems, (Louisiana State Univ. Press, 2014). Poem reprinted by permission of Anya Krugovoy Silver and the publisher.
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