THE CLOTH STAINER
The shirt I’m wearing/ is made in Bangladesh, Turkey, or the Philippines,/ where clotheslines crisscross sky: sleeves and bodices/flail in salt-laced wind— weft of signatures whose/ facing edges I’ll button and wear against my skin.--- From “Shirtwaist Elegy” by Luisa A. Igloria, Via Negativa, 10-22-11
Two of her ten children drowned in that river
retrieving rolls of cloth grabbed by current
swollen by monsoon rains; rescuers found
them upstream near the Bay wrapped snugly
in the newly coloured sheets as if they simply
stole sleep and took a nap when they could.
When the Giant Tiger supplier from the city
asked for his stained raw materials that day,
he found the old woman starting to colour some
new rolls all over again. He said he would not
wait, and paid another gaunt stainer, bundled
his purchase, and threw it hurriedly into his truck.
Laundry day today. The shirt I am throwing into
the hamper, could it be from that roll in Bangladesh?
--- Albert B. Casuga10-22-11