The Considerable Laundry

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September 2, 2009 by The Citron Review

by Eric Steineger


“Don’t forget about the coyote,” he says.

The ice forming in tiny clusters inside the vehicle.
He makes the joke, “Breakfast in Bed.”  She laughs.
They lie lengthwise and grind each other for warmth.
Their legs jam like knuckles against the window, unable to extend.
She thinks of the unsexy:  prophylactics in the trunk, front page Christmas death,
a mother living back East.

They cannot see any fires in the distance.
Whether or not there is anybody.  If anybody brought cables.
They didn’t.  He has sacrificed a Thomas Guide for kindling.
His fingers still in the snow from digging out the fire pit.
They do know there is little chance of starting up again.
Headlights left too long.

Then he remembers laundry.
In the front seat under the dumb firewood.  Her socks.
The smell of eco friendly soap.  Her bluegreen pajama top avalanches the pile back.

Still howling by the iron grate.
Ready to rip into them if they venture outside, even to pee.
But they are layered now.  Smoky, colorblind, how wrong
to stalk from behind the cacti.  Desecrate the monument.

She wipes off the window.  Nothing is out here.
She takes off her socks and gives them to him.

This is his Christmas present.
A fracture of stars?


Eric Steineger was born in New York City in 1979. After having finished school at Appalachian State, he moved West to pursue the arts. Currently, he is working on his MFA from Antioch University in Poetry, enjoys running cross country and trying to carve a wine rack for his studio in off hours. It has been reported that he is the best storyteller in the world.


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