Our cat, who’s over nineteen, likes to sleep
on the massed softness of a pile of shirts,
two, three, four, flung on the floor
but soon to be gathered up
and taken to the laundry,
where the proprietress
gives out brief but mordant bulletins
about her teenage girls. Boys easier.
You’re lucky. My daughter very bad,
she barks one day. The next week things are worse.
Too much trouble with my younger daughter.
She tell me we are not in China now,
she can do what she want. I’m very tired.

Next week:?We have a saying:
there are three kinds of people.
First kind know right thing to do and do it
without being told. Second kind
not know but will do if someone tell them.
Third kind:?even if you tell them, nothing!

She takes the wad of fading rainbow shirts
I push across the counter toward her, shoots
back this week’s clean ones, wrapped in crisp brown paper,
soon to go soft and pungent in their turn.