BLACK WOOL CAPE by Alison Carb Sussman
She drags the bulging black bag to the dim basement.
The washers stand in a row, their bubble doors stare.
She unloads her wash-too short dresses, pants that don't fit any
longer, stained underwear from guilty nights spent behind
the garage-and throws it into a machine.
The clothes packed in, arms and legs askew.
She sprinkles a cupful of blue-and-white speckled detergent
among them, and pushes "colors" for warm water.
She cannot see the universe of the wash.
The clothes turn, sloshing, banging up against each other in the
primordial warmth, another kind of fiercely sucking womb.
A shirt is plastered to the glass, then torn away.
She stares at her bare legs full of mosquito punctures,
at the sweating backs of her hands.
The wash spins.
She thinks of a deserted street at dusk,
Herself and other students spilling into it after curfew,
sharpshooters on the roofs of the shops.
Not a sound came from anywhere.
The soda bottles came in a dream,
like the basketball that crashed through a pane of her parents' house.
Glass shards glinted in the sun near their feet; flames flared, then died.
No shots were fired.
Alison Carb Sussman, a 2015 Pushcart Prize nominee, has garnered numerous awards and publications throughout her writing career. Her chapbook, On the Edge, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2013. Sussman won the Abroad Writers' Conference/Finishing Line Press Authors Poetry Contest and read her winning poems as their guest in Dublin, Ireland in 2015. Her poem "Dirty'' was a finalist in Naugatuck River Review's 11th Annual Narrative Poetry Contest in 2019. Her poem "Anhedonia'' (now ''Anhedonic Woman") was a finalist in the 49th Parallel Award for Poetry in Bellingham Review's 2016 Literary Contests. Her poems have appeared in Atlanta Review, Cutthroat: A journal of the Arts, Gargoyle, The New York Times, Rattle, Southword, and other publications. She lives and writes in New York City.
Publication Date: August 9, 2022