Ode to Clean Sheets By Audrey McGuinness

Ode to Clean Sheets

When I want a fresh start,
I strip my bed and fold my naked comforter on a bare mattress,
Destroying a nest that has gone too messy
To feel like home.
I pour thick soap into the small tray whose
Sole purpose is to dispense and be refilled,
And wait for sudsy water to reset my sheets from
Two weeks’ worth of sleep,
Anticipating the cold in me being undone by
Warmth like paper fresh from the printer.
Balled together,
My sheets have tried to make themselves
In the absence of a bed.
I breathe in the smell of comfort only brought by laundromats
And worth the metal clink of quarters.
I dance my way from corner to corner of the mattress.
Billowing out like sails, cotton and linen
Fall slowly into place before getting folded between
Bed frames and mattress edges,
Forming crisp lines and tucking no one into bed.
I wash myself next,
Slipping between lightly-perfumed sheets with wet hair that
Will dry as tangled as my sheets go overnight.

By Audrey McGuinness


Audrey McGuinness is from Oakland, California and is a first year at Macalester College. She has dedicated a great deal of time and energy to processing trauma, abuse, and assault, and balances these experiences by seeking beauty in mundanity. She writes when poems start writing themselves in her head.

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