time for chores dad hollers from the kitchen so loud we can’t even pretend not to hear ~ we trample begrudgingly from our rooms ~ the dishwasher shiny and metal and loud opens with a clang the dishes rattling together hot watery air billowing into our faces we pile clanking plates on plates shake out the tinkling silverware delicately pick up the knives because dad told us to be careful and we remember when we watch mom slice into vegetables the sharp edge parting the flesh so smoothly ~ whining and groaning we clamber down the stairs with a mountain of clothes shove them into the machine press the right buttons never low speed never high speed normal water pressure medium soap we listen to the whir and watch the clothes spin in the ancient machines because we’ve come all the way down here already and if you blur your eyes the colors of the fabric mix and blend together like paint on a wheel ~ unload the dryer shove the clothes back into the hamper and lug the mountain of clothes up the steps one at a time thud thud thud slowly until we reach the top and then bliss as we dump the clothes onto the couch and jump into them reveling in their warmth like baked bread right out of the oven like the extra blanket at our feet on colder winter nights mom shouts get your dirty bodies off my clean laundry but we ignore her for just a minute more to savor that warmth ~ ducking under the sink to grab new trash and recycling bags and hauling the filled bags outside to the chilled air making us crave being back in the comfort of the air of the house ~ the air humid with the sounds of voices whirring clanging rustling thuds and smelling like mom’s lavender perfume like dad’s burning toast because he always burns the toast like my brother’s gross feet because he leaves his socks lying around the house and I hate and love this air the air I breathe the air they breathe the air that fills my home to the brim and wraps around me like the clothes from the dryer
Avah Dodson is 14. Her work has been recognized in the Bluefire 1,000 Words Contest, the Royal Nonesuch Humor Contest, the Scholastic Writing Awards contest (National Gold Medalist), and the Sarah Mook Poetry Contest, among others. Her works have appeared in Incandescent Review, Echo Lit, Stone Soup Magazine, Voices de la Luna, Skipping Stones Magazine, and others. She currently is a Prose Contributor for Incandescent Review and lives in California with her family and two adorable tabbies.
Visual Arts by Meicen Deng