Soap Opera

The machine rumbles,
bubbles with the scent
of her favourite detergent,
lending lightness to the drudgery,
the air soap-shimmery
in a slant of spring sun.

He sits on the opposite
bench in the launderette
watching his washing tumble
in the drier with a syncopated
rhythm, the clunk and click
of buttons and zips.

The drier stops.
She smiles, hands
him a basket,
into which he drops
each item. All the while
their eyes smile.

She watches him cram
everything in a bag,
unpacks and folds
his shirts and sweaters,
so much better
than he can.

Her machine still rumbles,
bubbles with the scent
of her favourite detergent,
overplayed by warm sun,
the smell of his clean washing,
and the fact that he’s waiting.

Kim M. Russell, 30th April 2021

woman playing bubbles

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Tuesday Poetics: Put your Words on Spin Cycle

De is back with a quote from Richard Wilbur and a prompt to put our words into a different spin: we are writing laundry poems. De gives us options, links where we can find some further poetical laundry inspiration, a poem by Ruth Stone and one of her own. I’ve chosen to write about a tryst that starts at a launderette.

Image by Kid Circus on Unsplash

45 thoughts on “Soap Opera

  1. We don’t laundromats in Sweden, so this feels a bit like a movie to me. To meet someone at such a place, but I guess it’s a natural place since you have to spend so much time there and also an intimacy that you probably wouldn’t find elsewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought they were everywhere. Does everyone have washing machines in Sweden, then? I used to enjoy meeting up with people at the local launderette in Cologne.


  2. This is exquisitely drawn, Kim! 😀 I love the image of “the air soap-shimmery in a slant of spring sun.” There is a certain romance in doing laundry together. *wink* 💝💝

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I was little my mum used to send me with a big bag of washing. Later, when I lived in Germany, I would go to the launderette regularly and got to know many of the other people there. We’d go to the cafe next door for coffee.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Been a long time since I have been to one. Love the his and her washing part, specially the sounds, and that slight emotional wistful and hopeful connection. Am smiling at this meet-cute moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the way this topic has brought out both how personal and how universal the concept of laundry is. Everyone knows this scene, and you evoke it beautifully, while still making it yours alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Merril. Some launderettes are, especially some I used in London. The closest one to us is near a cafe and the river, so you can watch boats and swans. I only went once when our machine broke down.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. This feels like a scene from a romantic movie. I would like to know what happens next.
    As Björn already said we don’t really have them. Instead we have washrooms shared with our neighbors (if we don’t have our own machine) which have lead to whole books of washroom notes. Where people bicker over anything and everything. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Advertisers always uses the most appealing images. After working for years as a salesperson I know too well how much that industry uses all the cutting edge knowledge in psychology in ways that over the years seemed more and more “evil” to me.

        Liked by 2 people

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