Baby Wash – October 23, 1962

For Jeanne


While Cuba waited
My mother-in-law wept
Into the washing machine

She thought her three boys
Might never grow
To be anyone’s husbands

If those men with missiles
Exchanged swelling clouds of ash
Across the seas

All the bedtimes, nap times, mealtimes,
Lullabies, purées and games
Would vanish in a single flash

But if those idiots don’t do it
She thought, I’ll need clean diapers
So she did what women do

Mix your tears with soap and bleach
Turn the dial to extra hot
Press go

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