In the Wash By Michael DuBon

In the Wash

Arms deep, filth-clad, toilet toil: working at The Ski Tahoe Resort.
Scrubbing this mess of spiders, disposing the cast off suppositories,
the tracks of geriatric indulgence.

Work, where people don’t know how to talk to you.

Where the other housekeepers won’t trade Spanish with you
because you’re not Latino enough, too American. Where one day
you hear a voice from behind exclaim,

No clean!
and you turn around to a white man waving his arms, pleading,
No! No clean! We don’t need no clean.

Where you can’t speak Spanish, can’t speak English,
where all you can say is, Ok.

Work: where you throw up on the carpet after two turkey sandwiches,
so hungover you pass out again before vacuuming them up
then see them again in the sink, the toilet too,
you scrub up your mess alongside everyone else’s.

Where your fingers fall endlessly but never pick out
all the dirt. Your Guatemalan parents who got you this job
scold you for your failings as it might mean their jobs,
their names already sullied.

The job helps pay your parents’ rent first, then your own. They made you work
at so young an age, a childhood stained across carpets of empty suites.

You blamed them for wasting wasteful time
earmarked for young weekends. Proved them right. Smoked in the units.

Eight years drain like hard water.

My hands reappear from rubber gloves. I enter any room here and I’m already gone.

By Michael DuBon


Michael DuBon is a first-generation Nevada native of Guatemalan descent. His poetry has appeared in The Meadow and his creative nonfiction has appeared in Heartwood and Brushfire. He holds an MFA from Saint Mary’s College of California, and he is currently working on his memoir: The DuBonicles. At his most natural, he is laughing and smiling. He hopes to share the smiles and laughter through his multilingual writing.

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