Poem by Kayla Schwab & Art by Ilaria Cortesi

Art Ilaria Cortesi

Laundry Day

Great Expectations

by Kayla Schwab

They ran out of flour at the bodega, so I bought a tub of Tollhouse cookie dough. I tried to let myself down easy as I

put the raspberry jam and confectioner’s sugar back on the shelves. It’s a small business, after all.

New Yorkers can be so demanding.


Back home, at my desk, half-dressed in my trendy blouse, no pants, I wait for the oven to preheat. I rearrange my

paints: ROY-G-BIV. I flip through stacks of out-of-print magazines to tear out the most interesting pages for that

collage I’ll start One-Of-These-Days.


I would have carried my homemade cookies to the party in that large Tupperware. A friend once delivered pumpkin

bread in it, but she never wanted it back. I take pleasure in this Sisterhood of the Traveling Tupperware. I’m plotting

who I’ll leave it with next. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Repeat.


I would have explained that it’s a Secret Family Recipe, passed down between mothers who could Do It All. I would

make it seem like the 6 hours of labor were No Big Deal. I would have kept my hair loose at my shoulders, let

it tangle with the tropes of my Saturday Night Self. Before climbing into bed, I would comb the fatigue from my hair

and wonder if I should have kept my peripheral opinions to myself.


I would have saved a single Linzer Tart for my Sunday Morning Ritual. I would have let it dissolve in a cup of English

Breakfast, watching the night’s over-thinks crystalize at the bottom. I would have watched the sun rise and fall to its

knees, imploring me to wander in Prospect Park. I would have spent the day wondering how to fit the jagged pieces

of myself into a form that feels complete enough to rest.


I wake instead to a half-eaten tub of cookie dough, pocked with craters where my spoon went digging.

The hardwood floor is covered in self-portraits, footprints in every medium pressed into the floorboards. I collect

thumbtacks and pin the portraits to the wall, one-by-one, constructing a family tree. My lineage travels

from charcoal to pastel to paint, adapting to the various iterations of myself. I scrape away the layers of paint that

haven’t dried, and the sketch beneath it shines.

Art Ilaria Cortesi


I Can’t See Anything

Kayla Schwab is a poet and artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been featured in Distance Yearning and Stone Pacific, and she is an active member of Sweet Action Poetry Collective. You can follow her on IG @80smomchic   Twitter @KaylaAnnSchwab

Ilaria Cortesi is a self-taught digital artist based in Shanghai, China. “Using mixed media digital collage, I turn thoughts and feelings into surreal images by fusing vintage imagery with the natural world. The results are dreamy sci-fi landscapes and punchy collages inspired by the punk aesthetic of DIY, that are sometimes thought-provoking, sometimes playful and cheesy.” She started making analog collages at a young age and rediscovered this art form while juggling a full-time office job and single parenthood, seeking a creative outlet.