Hold me, hold me, hold me
like my laundry machine. My washer
and my dryer and my mother
who taught me how to fold sheets.
They require two people, four hands
for each corner: bunch together,
rush towards me holding linens
and let us break apart with something small,
place it on a shelf. The wash never spat
out the clothing I wanted: big, swelling dresses,
shiny boots, bloomers with red bows,
so I rolled them from fresh sheets, secretly
before showers– cover then uncover myself.
Back then, nothing was too tight. Back then,
I had a room with many windows, and only the pumpkin
patch could comment on the way I danced
and where the comforter hugged my thighs
too tightly to forget. And I curled into my book
light and dried my hair with the pillow and refused
to move the sheets from where they fell: a heap
missing a body.
Julien Griswold (they/them) is a non-binary poet studying literary translation at Brown University. Their work has appeared in Philadelphia Teen Stories, LIVE POETRY SOCIETY OF NEW JERSEY, Imazine, and more. Connect with them online @cheerupjulien on Instagram.