The last wash

I knew
even before I put it on
that there would be strict segregation
on the clothes horse;
it would be too much
to have to pick you away
from me
like gristle out of gap in gum.

Nevertheless,
I was almost breathless
by the end
of it, looking at your tiny socks
lined like POWs against a church wall
waiting to be shot.

With heavy shoulders
and great effort the last
shirt was hung;

the last of it,
the last of us.