Literature Poetry Sophie Crocker

chicago laundry

Sophie Crocker


slim and strong as a samurai, you wash socks in our frequently broken kitchen sink. you say,

as if citing the weather, murder rate escalating – must be the summer heat. i hold your hips

between my hands. you feel so narrow and brief i ache when i touch you, ache when i don’t.

chicago is capital city for murder and stand-up comedy, a juxtaposition too bright to look at.

murder rate rising means there are fewer people to watch it rise. i say, why would

anyone exert theirself to murder in july?


we have breakfast for dinner over the chicago tribune: clementines in tissue paper,

tea, eggs, toast. it’s july so every glance feels like waking up; it’s july so sunset

is the only appropriate attire. this heat wave spangles bridges

and doorsteps and corpses in landfills and god’s sweaty toes and late evening traffic. rush

hour at all hours, rats in the walls, a cockroach moon. the world wants to end and i don’t

know how to end it. in black-and-white, every article reads like a ransom note, your coffee

rings brown cuffs on the tablecloth. cops and dead men; serial killers and dead women.


the city is asking for a place to stay, so i open all our windows, laundry turning

humid on balcony railings, and kiss you how the noon sun kisses dials. at night, making love,

we whisper about conspiracy theories, hate crimes, the word sanctuary.


here, take this:

my body, amber shadow cast over your skin – chalk outline. i want you

held inside me. now i’m thirsty, are you thirsty, darling? now i am thirsty.


let’s make a pact,

a proposal: oh, i want to feel safe.

                                  someday we’ve got to threaten this city; someday we’ve got to matter here.


Sophie Crocker is a queer writer, tour guide, and performance artist based on unceded and ancestral Coast Salish land. Friends have described her as “worryingly oblivious,” “startlingly witchy,” and “like if Romeo Montague were played for comedy.” Read her also in Room Magazine.