local_library Chaplains and the Laundry Man

by Kathleen McCann

Published in Issue No. 243 ~ August, 2017

Tied by the chronology of shifts,

we walk the halls 1:30 to 10:00.

Miquel, the laundry man, his towering gray

cart; me, with my clipboard of asterisked names.

Each weekday evening, trundling the gray cart

back and forth, Miquel hauls his stacks

of laundry back to the facilities.

We pass, maybe four or five times a shift.

Sometimes I see a bit of him, his arms perhaps,

or a glimpse of his face, fixed forward as he slows

the pace of his downhill cart.

Other times, on the flat, only a cart rolls toward me,

as is steered by the stars, no

human agency needed.

Passing through the hospital at the end

of a shift, I see him through the window,

working his way down the long table

that tonight holds scrubs, the ubiquitous

baby blue of the medical world.

Sorting and folding…sorting

and folding.

Miquel, like the chaplains,

concentrating on life’s

effects: wear and tear.

account_box More About

Writing for over forty years, Kathleen McCann of Yuma, Arizona is the author of two full-length collections: A Roof Gone To Sky, and Barn Sour (a finalist for the May Swenson Award in 2011).