Ismail (Laundry)

There is a musk that won't boil off
in bleach. A white

yellow as an old eye.
There is a sound like a train

juddering under the river,
pushing through with its forehead,

pushing through my forehead.
And I fold.

Sisyphus knows this room
and the mess line down

the hall and the line behind
the swinging kitchen door.

He knows these net bags
full of green. The skin of us,

a green not found in nature,
our DINs above the pocket:

the number on our green skins
sealed in cinderblock.

No one wants what is
state issue. Most is state issue.

And I fold. And push the canvas
on its tired black wheels.

What you can wear non-state:
Solid red. Solid yellow. Purple. No

blue, no orange. No patterns.
No black.