Today's poem is by Jasmine An

My Father Owned the Sam Kee Laundry in LA

I graduated from high school in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 2011.
My boyfriend dragged the sheets from his guest bed and we dropped
them in the laundry on the way out the door every morning before

            the sun rose. In 1921, I dropped out of Los Angeles High School.
            I died for the first time at age 17. I had a baby with a white man
            and drowned when he left me. Then I got up to do it again

the next day I didn't see him I died again I checked
            my texts too many times I sat still while they redid my
                        makeup I kept looking and looking and looking —

            On a good day at the laundry, I made five cents in tips,
            enough to sneak away for the afternoon matinee.
            For dying, I got a hundred and fifty a week.

I don't need the money. I am not dying. I can swim
and sleep in. I am spinning in the shower, but steam
is something I have not yet brought myself to swallow.

I am not a laundryman's daughter.

Copyright © 2016 Jasmine An All rights reserved
from Naming The No-Name Woman
Two Sylvias Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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