EDITOR’S CHOICE AWARD: bringing our favorite previously-published poems back to the front page.
Crisp white sheets bleached by the sun,
waving like so many flags, surrendering
to the turbulence of life. Memories of days
long past, when life seemed simpler, and
yet felt harder, all at the same time.
I can envision my mother standing there,
her graying hair pulled back, donning a
patchwork apron; carefully taking each
rolled up damp sheet from the basket
with her age worn hands, and shaking it
out to hang upon the rope line.
White sheets, symbolic of her surrender,
giving herself in to a life of drudgery and
poverty. Labor’s love lost to past dreams
that never were. Blinded by the brightness
of the white, as she herself was bleached
and withered by the blistering sun. I still
feel her pain today, all these years later.
Certain images evoke strong memories,
taking us back in time. Like a daydream
coming into focus, I can almost touch my
mother in my mind’s eye. Then, reality
snaps its finger, as the sheets begin
to wave their surrender once again.

Photo Credit: Camille Day – Clothesline at La Bonne Etoile

One thought

  1. I really like this. Doing laundry was such arduous work, and I like the way this work–women’s work–is expressed through the way the poet remembers her mother, and how she surrendered her life and dreams for this drudgery.

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