Family Laundry

Franz Marc, Flatternde Wäsche im Wind, 1906

Family Laundry

The breeze brushes, caresses, slips its fingers
into pockets, cradling words dropped carelessly
with the loose change,
lifting the conversational lint embedded in variegated threads—
don’t forget to pick up the milk,
look at the moon, remember yesterday—
I can’t believe how big she’s getting.

The wind slaps feelings from the sun-warmed fabric, dangling
them before judging crows and mocking-birds–
the baby’s desire to be held, the mother’s desire to be held,
the father’s desire—his tough-guy persona flies from his undershirts.

Now the mother’s too-tight skirts wait to dry,
wait to be put away in a box, replaced with the loose garments
she wore only too recently.
Not again, they sigh.
All the clothes flap in unison,
another mouth to feed, more clothes on the line.

For dVerse Open Link Night, another ekphrastic poem from my prompt on Tuesday.

64 thoughts on “Family Laundry

  1. Oh yes… all those things are so very real.
    And funny, I was going to use this photo for mine but I keep wavering with the rooftop one, which I think, in the end, i shall use.

  2. Some misery, yes, but warmth and passion and love as well. She may be barefoot and pregnant, but there is still a touch of the maiden, the wisdom of the Mom.

  3. This is gorgeously worded! I especially love; “the loose change, lifting the conversational lint embedded in variegated threads.”💝💝

  4. Wonderfully splayed, Merril. I esp liked S2, with its judgemental crows and mocking-birds; not to mention all those desires in the lines that follow.

  5. I found this delightful and real. What a great title. You have created a visual story that I can see in my mind. I especially like this line, “lifting the conversational lint embedded in variegated threads—”

  6. Absolutely beautiful first stanza, followed by lovely detail in each clothing item, the skirt a bit too tight, the father’s tough guy undershirt, a whole narrative on the line, a tale of generations..

  7. I like visual stories, and this one delights with lyrical family conversation. You know I’ve written about Longenecker laundry on my blog and can relate to the movement and pacing of your verse. Great job, Merril!

  8. OMG this is just awesome.
    Luv the mood. The imagery. The approach

    Thanks for dropping by my blog

    Much love

  9. Wow, I’ll never look at clothes drying on a line the same way again! Seriously, beautiful story-poem. Also, seriously, we didn’t have a washer and dryer when I was growing up, so my mom would go to the laundromat to wash our clothes and then bring them home and put them on the line (gotta save every penny). My mom did this even in winter. Of course, the clothes didn’t dry then. They just froze and we wound up drying them on our furnace. My sister still dries her clothes on the line, but she lives in the country where the air is sweet (sometimes sweet with the scent of manure, but so be it ;-)).

    • Thanks so much, Marie!
      Thank you for sharing your memories, too–and your sister’s aired laundry. 😏
      We always had a washer and dryer. When my brother was a baby, my mom had to take the clothes and him to the laundromat, then lug him and the wet clothes home, and get them all upstairs to their apartment in Philadelphia. They had one of those clotheslines from the windows. I guess they got a clothes dryer as soon as they could. 😀

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