2 April 2007 | Vol. 7, No. 1

Your Laundry on the Line Like a Giant, Breathing Beast

Your laundry on the line like a giant, breathing beast,

like the billowing sheets above the alleys in Trastevere,

where mothers yell after their children Vieni qua! Vieni qua!

while underwear sways like language itself. Rippling and tossing,

the tie-dyed tank in a snit because you've hung it beside

the light-blue flowered PJs; the white briefs mingling

with the black briefs (do you think we're as good

as the purple-striped?). Though you can't begin

to explain the sorrow of pulleys, the care a woman takes

to add a little bluing to the swirl of skivvies and socks,

to load a long and squeaky rope with Wranglers and BVDs,

you'll be the first to say this is not that clothesline,

though there is sorrow, a touch of sorrow, in the faces

of certain t-shirts, in the hummingbird that ticks and buzzes

at the Bermudas, expecting nectar from a fabric hibiscus.

You can't exactly say you like your chores, but there is,

you'll admit, a certain reward in the rinsing and wringing,

in filling a wicker basket with the sweet clover and Solomon plume

of satisfaction, the behemoth of things needing doing

laid down, for a time, to rest.

About the author:

Martha Silano is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Blue Positive and What the Truth Tastes Like. Her work has appeared in many places, including Paris Review, Prairie Schooner, and the Poetry Daily anthology. She teaches at Bellevue Community College and lives in Seattle, WA.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Martha Silano at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 7, No. 1, where "Your Laundry on the Line Like a Giant, Breathing Beast" ran on April 2, 2007. List other work with these same labels: poetry, editors' select.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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