Song of the Ironing Board
So many hands lay hot on my belly
over the years, and oh, how many ghosts
I held, their bodies damp and slack
their long arms fallen to either side.
I gave till my legs shook, but then
they were up and away. Thus the lovely
soft nap of my youth was worn down.
But I gave of myself and was proud.
I was there for those Saturday
touchups, those solemn Sunday
sacraments of Clorox in the church
of starch, the hangers ringing.
On stiffening legs I suffered
the steam iron’s hot incontinence,
the melt-down of the rayon slacks,
my batting going varicose.
And it all came down to this:
a cellar window looking out
on February, where a cold wind
pinches clothespins down an empty line.
I lean against the wall and breathe
the drifting smoke of memory,
a stained chemise pulled over
my scorched yet ever shining heart.