She scrapes the charred crumbs from her morning toast, then she does laundry.

She does ironing, then she strums a chord on her guitar, commiserating with herself, as the taut metal strings slice pain into her tender fingertips.

She does more laundry, then she spatter-paints with Pollockesque abandon.

Which inevitably generates more dirty clothes.

She has a shower, luxuriating in the incalescence of the near-scalding water, as it flows along the crevices of her fatigue.

She dries her tangled hair, then dries the laundered clothes, then nourishes the machine with another load.

She eats ambiguous leftovers with a plastic fork, then watches the kaleidoscope of colors intertwine, as purple shirt mixes with scarlet robe mixes with periwinkle underwear mixes with turquoise socks.

She wiggles open the encrusted lint filter and wonders why the vibrant hues always converge into a sluggish gray.

She does more laundry, writes a restrained haiku, then erases it.

She sips decaffeinated coffee, while she edits her fragmented novel, seeking flawless metaphors for unrequited love and grim despair and soul-sucking regret.

She classifies the laundered clothes and places them benignly onto hangers, slides them with innate compassion into drawers.

At ten o’ clock she slams the lid onto the overflowing wicker basket, as she crawls, debilitated, into bed.

by Gillian McQuade

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