Sunday, January 11, 2015

Domestic Art

There is
           something
about laundry, eyed, hanging on a line outside, blowing in the wind,
                                       gathering
to it, the fresh scents of the air, the grass, the soil.
Like each
article, its own story, bodiless
but embodied
by the breeze, or words
with sunlit possibilities, written as a list, channeling a draft,
generating poem.

Too, something about hanging each item separately, shaking
it out, clipping—
calming.
Then, linen, cotton, single socks,
sheets, side by side, mingling, evidencing kinship, in flight
with each gust, unruly, billowing like flags of capitulation, shaking
in surrender.

Or seen in a neighbor’s yard:  an ink black nightie, too sexy
for an old lady, (not viewed as condemnation, just noted as a curiosity)
alongside doilies, embroidered, flowered pillowcases,
her husband’s underwear.

There is no shame in laundry.  All is clean.  Though the children giggle,
make fun, sense that privacy is on display.  Delicacies,
                                      like stolen candy.


Dried quickly on a Midwest summer day,
a woman
with basket hoisted like a baby on her hip
comes out to change loads.  The children scatter, not wishing to render
help.  This means a few moments of silence for the mother.  She works
slowly, enjoying a time of neither ennui nor enthusiasm, gradually
works her way toward the end, sighs, folds the last item, holds it up to her
face, smelling the fresh, crisp aroma of her labor, inhaling the possibility
of a poem.

4 comments:

  1. Fresh sheets are good be they paper or cotton ;)

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  2. You've persuaded me to go change my sheets! A lovely piece.

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  3. I remember hanging laundry outside--you've written it just as beautifully as I recall.

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