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The Laundromat Saint

The way mother folded
my clothes. What did I learn?
I still don’t know what I’m doing.

My hands could never be as good.
Eight years old, I’m with Mom at our laundromat,
a handful of quarters to keep us busy,

a gumball machine,
a knob that turns

a Snickers bar,
a can of store-brand root beer,
a little wrestler in his tiny plastic dome.

I pat my pockets
for a prayer card from my mother.
It lives there.

Today, a man in the rear works evenings
while I thumb prayers,
coins & sink into rhythm.

His hands chisel & chisel little curls off
slabs of wood.
Mother of God,

the man carves saints into this shape:
Guadalupe, Lupe, Guadalupe
I hum with care while he works

endlessly. He blows the sawdust away.
I’ve been waiting for my mother’s hands
to fold me all along.