The tramps lie soiled and ragged, piled upon
One another. I try to ignore them but
They call my name; they cry so loud and long
I cannot turn away. I pick and sort

Through them, repulsed. Their horrid stench mocks me.
Their dirty looks annoy, so once again
I pour the scented soap to set them free
and cram them in the tub, forgive their sin,

Then send them off to live a life renewed.
But still destined they are for what is dark,
So once again they’re fouled and need rescued.
With mercy, I again will do my part.

A tiresome job it often seems to me;
In spite of that, I must do the laundry.

Pam Vap is a high school English teacher in Arizona. She was a first-place winner in the Nebraska Writer’s Guild Poetry contest, first-place Goodreads poetry winner, Allen Ginsberg Poetry Honorable Mention, finalist in the Lascaux Literary Prize in Poetry, and finalist in the Prime Number Magazine Award for Poetry.