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By Abigail Putnam

I am a piece of lint in your dryer. Well, getting technical, I’m a bit of that old tissue you forgot about mixed with the blue fuzz off that favorite jacket of which the tag says should be hand washed and air-dried, but really, who has time to listen to tags these days, and aren’t you impatient to wear those same three outfits on repeat, over, and over, and over?

Set to normal cycle with a gentle spin. That’s me, going round and round, doomed to watching the world through a foggy window for all eternity or until the buzzer goes off. Whichever comes first.

I had hoped to see the world with you one day. Instead, I see the industrial fans that blow me from the endless loops and through a screen to be warmed soft with all the other lint dropouts that didn’t amount to much in their day jobs. The corner of that jacket is actually starting to sound preferable to life pinned to a screen. I hope the friction from removing me gives you a right nasty shock. That’ll teach you.

It’s not easy waiting, you know. The chug chug of the machine parts above me are torturously slow. Darkness everywhere. I am lost in the timelessness of you forgetting to check the screen. There is nothing here but dreams of my life in the jacket. Cushioning those unlucky pennies plucked from the pavement on rain-slicked days, the softness of your skin chilled and pink from cold. Now, I know only the warmth of compressors carefully pulling the moisture out of your clothes.

Eternity is the setting. Round and round. Rinse, wash, dry. When are you coming for me? I try to content myself that soon I will see the light from the world, that I will slip between your fingers on the way to the trashcan and stick to those black sweatpants you so love to wear late at night when there’s no judgment of carefully expanding waistbands to hide those second and third helpings of ice cream.

You’re as easy to predict as those same three outfits, as the whir of the fans, as the rocking motion going round for all time. You never remember to check the screen. You probably don’t even remember I’m down here. Waiting. It’s dark. Please come get me.


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