The Cloth Napkin

Used then disposed
in a laundry bin
with pit-stained shirts
it was saturated
in a child’s drippings
peanut butter and frothy milk
other are ripped
most are soiled
some were not used
at all

the result was intended
so it was not upset
the little boy had
cleaned his nose and chin
off-white-300-count
made to look ragged
against its freshly
purchased counterparts
who hadn’t been used
at all

machines keep it clean
the drawer keeps it safe
until the boy spits up
bacon and runny eggs
smells of vomit and
butter in the threads
lose the strength
merely tossed aside
for others to try
who hadn’t been used
at all

when ripped it will be
thrown away
no badges to display
like dresses sent
back to stores
before vows
sink in
not left to daughters
who won’t wear it
at all

the mother on the phone
ignores the child
screaming at
cold spaghetti
crumpled and worn
now on the floor
the napkin was
grateful
to even be used
at all

 

(written in Feb 2010)

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