At minus five, it’s hard for laundry to dry.
Outside, unsurprisingly, clothes seize up
like casualties—whether hypothermic
or pyroclastic—either way frozen,
and drowned in a sea of restaurant smoke.
Inside, a dryer is “impossible”;
the heater can’t go on, since the windows
are taped up, the vents taped and puttied up,
considering the risk of those hissless snakes.
So, for five months it takes five days to dry
in the bathroom damp, the windowless hollow
like an underground cave (on the tenth floor).
In the murk this mid-morning, lifting
a hooded top up to the tension rod
on which a towel for five months never fully dries,
the prangy metal coat hanger—shivered—missed
the spot two centimetres from the next one along,
then again clumsily clicked off the rod
before I saw the black long-sleeved thermal top,
—which is meant to be quick-dry for running—
hanging there like an annunciation,
like the only other soul to have been here,
laying its damp hand on my anoraked arm
as if to limply imply not to try somewhere else,
but to say no, you have to stop this.
Author Bio: Iain Twiddy studied literature at university, and lived for several years in northern Japan. His poems have been published in The Poetry Review, Poetry Ireland Review, The London Magazine, The Moth and elsewhere.