The box was too small for the bulk
Of clothes made to fit inside its enclosure.
Stuffed, like marshmallows shoved onto
One’s mouth, pushing the walls of the cheek.
Barely holding, barely holding, clinging
Only to their brothers
Who share their filth.
Water flowed from all sides—gushing,
Seeking refuge in cotton,
Finding solace in polyester.
Then, the water swirled,
Banging the clothes to the edges—slamming
Them against the transparent wall. Circling.
They would shout for help
If they could.
But the stain was not removed by the white grains
Rubbing its soul.
Not removed, only transferred.
Red, purple, green, yellow—it was a masterpiece
Had there been no pain, no injury.
The water stopped swirling
And it was time to dry the clothes,
Forced out the water in them,
Then locked in unbearable heat.
For this is the only way
That clothes get cleansed and dirt gets scrapped.
Grime is removed with pressure, with heat, with torture.
And when the clothes get out of the tiny box,
They are purified—cleansed, birthed once again.
Then they’re welcomed
To the brotherhood.
James Limon is a beginning writer from Davao City and is currently a second year BS Psychology student in UP Diliman