No TB – Please
The seats are all vacant and
my rum-shaken morning legs need a rest.
The laundromat waiting area sometimes doubles
as a staging area for crackheads and bums
as they ponder how to spend the rest of their day.
I grab the attendant’s spray bottle and wipe
a chair down to avoid transferring the sweaty
residue of the last crackhead onto me.
Across the street, a sidewalk sleeper is rousted
by the 7/11 clerk – GO! LEAVE NOW!
He staggers over and plops across from me –
coughing up tuberculosis into his cloud of stink –
his flying spittle spangled with flecks of red.
A trembling sip from a paper bag calms his coughing fit.
My foot lands with a slap thud on the tile when I
uncross my legs and jump up.
After all the care I took to wipe clean the chair
it seems like such a waste to lose it.
Now I’ll go stand in front of the drier –
entertained by the circular tumble of my socks.
Thirty-seven minutes to go.
©2021 Hugh Blanton All rights reserved.
Hugh Blanton combs poems out of his hair during those moments he can steal away from his employer’s loading dock. He has appeared in The Rye Whiskey Review, Dope Fiend Daily, As It Ought To Be, and other places. He lives in San Diego, California.