Thursday, November 18, 2010


The line strung between posts 
doesn't sag dangerously close 
to the ground anymore.
The heavy wet wrinkled washing
wrung out by the wringer doesn't
flap or snap. Clothespins put crimps
in sheet corners and made companions 
of shoulder seams and Levi legs. Rules
were followed for correct 
ways of hanging and attaching.
 Jessie (Jesus) Viviana Victoria 
Cota de Jose brought her 
pins inside with every basket of 
crunchy ritual. Noel didn't know 
the rules or follow laundry protocol
when she ate the crotches, the all 
important part, out of grandma's
underwear. How do you punish
a donkey who only leaves elastic
hanging lonely on the line with 
a wooden clothespin? Hot 
steam melts wrinkles flat 
and sends donkeys to the 
farthest back forty. 

This is my grandmother's clothespin bag. I think a couple of the clothespins might have been her mother's. The Pacific Northwest is too quirky rain wise for hanging clothes. Unfortunately. 
I played under her flapping sheets for hours using dropped magnolia pods for people. 


Maureen said...

Great post. Love the bit about the donkey. (We had one named Jack but he never ate our undies. We also had a pet sheep, Sport, who did eat the antique wicker carriage in which we pushed him when he was a babe.)

"wet wrinkled washing wrung out by the wringer": a mouthful, that, and wonderful alliteration.

Emily Hamblen said...

But isn't it funny to think that people in the PNW did have to figure out how to dry their clothes before electric dryers? That would make me move to a sunnier region... ;)

Megan Willome said...

This reminds me of one of my dogs, who sits perched beside the washer/dryer and waits for a stray sock or piece of underwear to fall from my hands. Then she grabs and it and runs as fast as she can to the far corner of the back yard, to enjoy her "treasure."

Toyin O. said...

Cute post, funny.

L.L. Barkat said...

Your poetry just keeps getting better and better. This was a total delight. One of my favorite parts (besides, like Maureen said, the donkey :) is...

"Jessie (Jesus) Viviana Victoria
Cota de Jose brought her
pins inside with every basket"

Susan said...

Laundry, hanging on a line, invokes fond memories... my grandma Bessie didn't have a dryer on the farm in Enumclaw. She had no choice but to brave the PNW weather & would say, 'quick - let's get the wash off the line before it gets wet once again'. (I have grandma Dorothy's clothespin bag.)

M.L. Gallagher said...

This is delightful and beautiful and just awesome!

My dog Ellie -- she likes to sneak into my daughters rooms and chew up their panties -- not much to chew these days with thongs and all -- takes a few pair to get a good bite! :)