Away the Blood

The Goat-Man is terrified of the washing machine,
squat, gleaming toad beneath the cellar steps.

He runs up and down,
some weeks waddles on his knees,
but the washer fills relentlessly,
finishes before he's loaded it,
leaves him standing in the silence
with an armload of stinking clothes,
a smell just this side of death,
the bodies barely absent,
like after a massacre,
sleeves and legs hanging
empty as accusations.

And he is ashamed.

Kneeling before it, he shuffles the wedges
beneath its feet, seeking to divine;
a holy shell game.
He tries to anticipate its needs,
be there for softener or cycle change,
but is always late, or short.

He hears it in the basement,
thumping and gurgling like a heart.
It is so white, and it washes
away the blood.