Get NiftyLit news & updates delivered directly to your inbox. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Skip to main content
Original artwork by Lance Dornan

Quarter-Dried Denim

Matthew Feinstein

Eighteen, I leave home for dorm dryers

nestled behind Tree Hall in a decrepit


laundry den. At its suite mate’s feet,

puddles hoisting student quarters


like lily pads. No second cycle.

Instead, I suffocate my wardrobe


with a trash bag, make it my hamper’s

neighbor for the week. I pluck


jeans as needed—let them air dry

walking class to class. The stench


of mildew turns blinding cloud.

My childhood takes opportunity


to return someplace imaginary.

I won’t notice its absence for years.