Submissions Flash Fiction Stories Novel Excerpts Poetry Stretching Forms Creative Non-Fiction Reviews Interviews Staff Links Word Riot Press

    3:AM Magazine
    Better Non Sequitur
    Brian Ames
    David Barringer
    Future Tense Publishing
    Jackie Corley
    Scott Bateman
    So New Publishing
...more links

Advertise with us
How to Fold Your Boyfriend's Clothes in the Morning Without Feeling Dirty or Irrelevant or Like You're Living in Sin
by Maria Kuznetsova

Open your eyes and try not to think of your mother. It's almost
noon, get up! Then, make sure he's gone, he's not around,
he's off somewhere in a clean suit, saying things like
cost-benefit analysis and can you believe the racial tension
on this godforsaken campus
, while you check that your shirt
isn't on backwards. Look around, don't look around.
See the goldfish? Flick on his fluorescent light, wave hello,
but please don't stare at him with the wonder you gave
your first fish-you have no right to be sentimental
when you're not wearing any underwear. Ask Goldie,
in a French accent, who ah you, my dear, and vat do you think
you ah doing here?

Ask yourself these questions, rinse, repeat, squat in the center
of the pile, but please don't stare out the window and wonder
how the o-zone is doing, how the manatees are doing, what God
thinks about you, or him, or any of this. Then, begin
to fold. Forget that most of the jerseys are dirty anyway,
sweaty from his lay-ups and racket swings, forget
that his wife beaters are drenched in beer (for the first time,
ask yourself how you go around calling those things wife beaters,
how you go around calling yourself a woman). Pick up his socks,
declare them hopeless, try not to think of your father. Cry hopeless!
Take the back of your hand to your forehead, sigh like a diva.
If anyone walks in, don't grin like a fool: there's no need
to be modest, missy, everybody knows the score.

Pick up his jeans, don't be tempted to rifle through his pockets
for love notes from girls who are not you, for receipts
from fancy restaurants he did not take you to, because you know,
fortunately or not, that you are the only one. Fold the jeans in halves,
then fourths, like a geometric progression, then rub your chin
like a philosopher, reconsider the fourths and switch back to halves,
because your grandmother told you never to fold a pair of pants
like that-they're made for legs, honey, accordions they are not.
Pick up his shirts, don't bother cringing at the ketchup stains
or the offensive stripes, if you make a face like that in an empty room,
it's pointless, like gesturing over the telephone or dancing
with a married man.

Before you leave, sit down at his desk, find an index card
and scribble honey I'm a very serious person I swear,
then chew it up and tuck it inside your bra. Take the deflated
piles and bury them inside his drawers, ignore the resume,
the letter from his baby sister, and the condom wrappers.
Blow the fish a kiss goodbye and applaud yourself,
because the floor is clean, and even though all you've done
with your life today is fold a bunch of dirty clothes, skip,
gather ye rosebuds while ye may, change in front of the mirror,
don't bother locking the door, wink twice, lady,
because you are young and your metabolism is obscenely fast,
and because you have nothing before you today
but two cups of coffee, a clean journal,
and a prayer that there will be many years ahead
for your redemption.

About the author:
Maria Kuznetsova was born in Ukraine, grew up in New Jersey, went to college in North Carolina, and is continuing her studies in California

© 2013 Word Riot

Advertise with us

Midnight Picnic
a novel by
Nick Antosca


The Suburban Swindle

More about The Suburban Swindle