Artwork by Art AI Gallery
There was always something wonderful about you
on laundry day in your polka-dot dress,
blue and faded slightly yellow,
bought years before for two bucks
in the old Penny's up Deer Park Road.
You sang, the basket in your arms burdened,
cascading trains of sheet and pillowcases,
marching up the back steps in your work shoes
always polished black—practical, sturdy—
the thump of your step assured.
I followed clip-clopping a step at a time,
using my hands at times to pull me upwards into the big space
of tree circled lawn and vegetable garden.
You burst into the backyard like a diva, head back,
voice loud, step proud, basket held hard.
Then down that basket went at your feet
and with enormous flips of your deceivingly fragile arms,
you shook the sheets to the wind like sails
before the mast, subduing them with wooden clips
on rope lines that crisscrossed the yard tautly
at regular angles from pole to house to pole again.
Your spectacled face glowed,
your tightly drawn hair defying the breeze.
And how you sang—words in a language
I didn't know, but such a melody that still replays,
high notes that cracked, low ones that whispered.
I looked into the shifting veils of the sky:
Against that miraculous wonder of blue and white
the freshly washed sheets wrinkly flapped,
snapping white ensigns pumped with sun,
your song, and the scent of morning marigolds.