Doing the Laundry

These days it’s no longer
the mano a mano ordeal it was
to wrestle clean
our overt smirches.
Now from the heart of the house
comes the effortful groan
of the washer’s mechanical
hamfists, heaving a rhythm,
sloshing a load of lights
back and forth and back…
Far better it
than my own pink knuckles
swashing a washboard
with caustic suds,
elbows deep in the roiling basin.
Or worse, to stand
hunched by the riverbank
with a stick and a rock.
Could love or money
ever compensate such mule work?
Yet such work continues–
something must be done
with those secretions and spillages,
the tell-tale sin-markings.
Forensics of the laundry room,
sure as swirled tea leaves
or a spotty X-ray,
give access to the intimate.
Like this spot, here.
Should I try the bleach?
Or should we talk about it?

from Southern Poetry Review 46:1

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3 thoughts on “Doing the Laundry

  1. Thanks for sharing this. Having a family of five, laundry is a big part of my life. I never thought about writing about it.

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