Amelia's Laundromat

When May is a bright sheet swinging in the warm
 Ocean breeze, we send our shirts to Amelia’s
Laundromat in Corozal (5 dollah per load). In
 The backyard, shadow-splashed by a glinting
Row of buckets, the old Toucan sleeps in the pan
 Of yellow noon, her brilliance all rinsed out. At
Neil’s Bar, the men take time out to admire
 The lady’s undies on the belly of the clothesline.
Amelia brings our wash, all blazed and warm,
 Still beating from the sun. (Beautiful Amelia!
How can I lift my eyes?) Behind me, Daren
 And Roger from the Suga Boys Club, carrying
Their famous football strips; sour with sweat
 And the fading happiness of the last game.
         ‘You bwai; you feel poli?’
Amelia is talking to me; as if my lost, white soul
 Is made visible by the steam. The Boys laugh,
Like it’s some great joke. I take out my wallet
 And they stop laughing. I count 5 dollah, slowly;
There’s fifty more between these lips of alligator skin.

(Lightship Poetry Prize Top Ten 2011)

Ron Carey Poetry