Dry Clean

by Camilla Jean

You, and your little body

were mostly standing,

sometimes crouching,

because you couldn’t or shouldn’t sit.

You’d been scolded before.

But sometimes you were sitting

on that folding chair with the red cushion

and snoozing,

when I would stop by.

I don’t know how to dry clean,

or what that smell means,

the crisp, unmistakable,

clean and starch and


with a flimsy metal hanger

and a protective paper bib.

But you were there

every day,

Monday through Saturday,

with a little beauty salon apron on.

And meanwhile,

while my life went on,

I couldn’t keep walking past your window

to stop and talk every time,

so I made arrangements and round about routes

to the coffee shop and the grocery store

that stood on either side.

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