Carrying the World in a Broken Laundry Basket, poetry by Barbara Harris Leonhard at

Carrying the World in a Broken Laundry Basket

Carrying the World in a Broken Laundry Basket

written by: Barbara Harris Leonhard



Isn’t easy to do on steep basement stairs.
The basket, filled with the bemired nightmares of the day
Stubbornly sticking to threads.

We’re instructed to separate the colors – Why?
Lest they bleed together onto the pristine sheets
Worn to the rallies?
Tide Pods. FDA approved for COVID yet?
Is bleach required for stained smiles
Behind the masks?

How many cycles are needed
For the urine-soiled carpet
From the U.S. Capitol Building? Can it fit
Into my Sears washer, or is it dry clean only?

Mother always admonished,
Never use the flag pole
To beat the rugs!

She’d fuss about this flag,
frayed by the spinning
Spinning, tossing and turning
In the fury of the moment
As red puddles spread their arms
On the white and blue.

Is it illegal to hang the wash in the backyard
At half-mast?

I hear that folding laundered funds is an art.
Money runs in hot water. Instructions in fine print,
Use Free and Clear. Lay flat ‘til dry.

The overloaded washing machine packs heat.
Makes its rounds.
Ratatatat! Ratatatat!
Ratatatat! Ratatatat!

A shoe caught in the pant leg
Kicks the dryer wall to the step,
Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.

The dryer wheezes. I pull lint
From the ventilator. Press restart.
Then add softener to the last load of hearts.

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