Dirty Laundry

by | August 3, 2019

Decode the skin cells on the back of the bras
you hooked and unhooked Monday to Friday
excavate a jumper and seduce a coil of hair
from wool like unstitching a tapestry –
notice how this is a small history
of things that stopped you from being naked

There is a hidden knowledge in veiling the naked
chest – privacy is a language scripted by bras.
wipe your blood, sweat and breath from history
with detergent and water – hang Friday’s
pants in the garden like blank tapestry
unpeg them anew- bare feet and clean hair

fill this basket with furs, fibres, and hairs
woven in shame of being born naked
from younger days of wetting the one piece
to yesterday’s coffee soaking to your bra
as certain as Sabbath follows Friday
has the dirt on your clothes written history

your outside-in t-shirt is a history
in the almanac of undressing – like hair
plaited, your basket in twists codes Friday’s
dash or Sunday’s dawdle to a naked
body. the clumsy fling of Saturday’s bra
hints your bed’s redress from harp to timpani

together, these clothes sew a tapestry
with the twine of a weekly history,
unravelled with the pull-snap of a bra
strap, hem and stitch – instruction manuals where
you’re taught how to be a woman through the naked
command of covered knees on a workday

God made leaping salmon on the fifth day.
the sixth, He wove from them a tapestry
pink and unfolded it in the naked
insides of Eve and her children. History
has depended on dirty laundry – hair,
leaves and shame were the world’s first bra

Attend the washing machine naked on Friday night
watch your bras on their Norman holiday, clasping onto the tapestry
you and a thousand women’s histories could dance here on and on and on. ∎


Words by Reem Sultan. Art by Sophie Kuang.