Sometimes, while folding
the starched-white undershirts,
it occurs to her
that this pile of crumpled linens,
still warm from the dryer,
might somehow represent
all that is chaotic within the universe.
And as she folds each item,
placing it neatly into a stack,
she is – in fact – making order out of chaos.
She tucks the folded undershirts
into a drawer, clear out of sight,
wiping the slate clean not just for her,
but for everyone.
Throughout the week, as the days progress,
the chaos mounts, the laundry pile grows,
and she – once again – is bestowed with this honor.
So she puts in a load of whites,
adds soap and bleach,
presses a button and sinks back into her armchair
while listening to the machine’s rhythmic hum.
When all is said and done,
she pulls an armful of warm clothes from the dryer,
and lowers it gently to the bed.
One by one, she folds each item neatly,
thus restoring order to the cosmos.
As she strolls through city streets, dressed in the latest fashions,
she tucks a tiny computer securely with her palm,
and defines herself by the things it reflects back to her.
She carries it with her everywhere she goes:
on the train, to the airport, or in her automobile.
High-definition images flicker and fade before her pupils.
Meanwhile, she forgets to gaze up at the nighttime sky,
or to pick out cloud shapes and name them on sunny days,
or to breathe in the scent of lilacs beneath her second-story window.
She’s too busy composing status updates,
and “liking” articles posted by her favorite bloggers.
Meanwhile, the ancient ones in generations before her,
wither away before crossing to the other shore,
where tiny computer screens must surely await,
to serve as entertainment for the long swaths of eternity
that now stretch out on the horizon.