No one cares where the second-tier towels are kept. The ones we take to the beach
are rolled up like fancy cannoli in the canvas bag a few steps from the back screen door,
and the dark grey ones bought to match the new bathroom are slung intimately
on the hooks of bedroom closets. But in the dankest basement corner,
beside rusty curtain rods and old paint, an assemblage of orphan linens jostles for space
in a tiny cupboard. It is the picture of neglect and privilege, an extravagant remnant
of houses traded up for newer models, the castoffs we keep lugging to the next place.
Yet these are the ones that do the dirtiest work, dabbed at muddy hatchback floor mats,
wiping up metastatic kitchen spills and the desperate leavings from an incontinent dog.
They bear the marks of error, a carcass rimmed with birds. I fold them into even thirds.