The sign illuminated in pale fluorescent light
reads “Elite Laundry,”
the letter “e” swirling ornately
and “Laundry” lying in simple small caps.

The windows are large and empty
save for a large vase of flowers
behind each pane and paper signs
taped neatly to the glass:
sheets,” “table cloths,” “bath towels.”

The dark wood of the front door gleams
as does the metal receiving bin
with the lone handle and the etched wording,
not quite legible in these dark shadows.
Through the glass on the door
stacks of clean laundry
are visible, but no people.

It’s too late to be out
in this part of town.

The only signs of life are the ghosts
of cars reflected on the windows,
sitting silently like great, gentle beasts.

The Laundromat is a gleaming beacon
on a dark corner that is falling
apart: cracks spider web
through the sidewalk’s concrete tiles.
Chunks are missing, and an exposed
pipe leaks water all over the concrete.

But despite its grim backdrop,

with its stately brick façade
and the curtains that demurely cover
the narrow windows by the front door,

it has an air of dignity,

this laundry.