Frankfort Laundromat

A weekly poem, read by the author.
July 10 1997 3:30 AM

Frankfort Laundromat

Frankfort Laundromat

By Mark Halliday


(posted Wednesday, July 9)

To hear the poet read "Frankfort Laundromat," click here.

Plastic chair, my eyes closed, my father walked in,
he had his bag of laundry. My laundry was in a machine
already, thirty-eight years prior to my death. Like me
my father was alive, he was eighty-one. We were both
sunburned and tired, this was after hours on the beach,
after the picnic, after when the Honda got stuck in sand,
this was after, then came the laundry; my father said
"Did you get burned much?" I said "Not too bad" and
he put his clothes in a machine. Small box of Tide.
My eyes closed over The Burden of the Past by W. J. Bate
and my eyes opened, hot room smell of soap and hot fabric,
and my father's shirt was dark pink, like a heart.
But my eyes closed, after the hours in the sun and
buying the stuff for sandwiches for everybody and
making sure Nick and the girls didn't really hurt the seagulls
and after Asa felt sick at lunch and after the humid tennis
so my eyes closed. Then opened apparently for more living,
I put my laundry in a dryer and my father was reading
The New Republic--concentrating, with his reading glasses,
and caring about the truth, despite all the sun and
all the sandwiches and tennis and driving, and I loved
him reading there in his dark pink shirt. But my head was
gravitational to the floor, my chin to my neck, I tried
The Burden of the Past and closed my eyes thirty-eight years
before my death unless it comes sooner, and a fly shifted
from People magazine to my father's shirt to a Certs wrapper
and the fly was the word "and." Then my clothes were dry
and awfully hot and I held my face to a hot dry towel.
I wanted to live--to live enough; but to live all day--
the sunburn and the gravitation--but my father was still
reading. Therefore with the normal courage of
any son or any daughter I folded my laundry and carried it
out to the Honda for more living, as my father went on
reading for truth in his shirt dark pink like a heart.

Mark Halliday teaches at Ohio University. His books of poetry are Little Star (1987) and Tasker Street (1992).



The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers


Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
Oct. 22 2014 11:54 PM The Actual World “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.