When your mother lived with us,
I decided I’d had enough of it
and began hiding my dirty clothes.
I was tired of coming home
to find my clothes already cleaned,
folded perfectly on the shelf.
After a few days of success,
she approached you at a time
when both of us were home
and demanded I hand it all over.
Winning or losing depended
on who was most trusting
of your patience and forgiveness
on such a trivial issue.
                                          I lost.
I gave your mother my shirts,
socks, pants, and underwear,
and she carried them away
toward the washing machine
like loose carnival tickets.

Matthew David Manning is an English instructor at Pittsburg State University (PSU) in the Intensive English Program. Matthew holds degrees in creative writing from Arizona State University and PSU. His poetry has appeared in various publications including I-70 Review, Red Paint Hill, Rust + Moth, Kansas Time + Place, and Chiron Review.

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