Washing

John Dalrymple

As an old truck
passes, coating
us in red dust,
the slap of wet clothing
on stone beats
a cadence through palms
that shift in the wind.
Mangos drop
to the ground
and we kick them,
splashing juice
across our shoes
and pant legs. A filthy
dog watches us,
gets up to follow,
collapses
back into the shade.
Finally, descending
the steps, we enter
a coutryard filled
with reflections
of soapy water
that arc across whitewashed walls.
The slapping stops,
replaced by dunking
and suds that sizzle,
then evaporate
in the heat.
Above the hummed
melody of hymn,
we are called inside
and enter, with dust
settled on our shoulders.