their spin-dried wash
on lines over porches or in yards
where the wind and air weave their fresh messages,
lift the sleeves of a work shirt,
make pennants of pant legs.
In 1953 my mother’s lines were wires
taut between T-shaped metal stanchions,
and she kept a damp rag in the furnace room
for cleaning them of high desert dust
before she hung out the wash.
Sheets and pillowcases first; then my father’s shirts.
Her unmentionables on the middle wire, away
from streetwise eyes. The Washoe Zephyr
surged straight off the cool sides
of Mount Rose into our yard, into
the fresh linens snapping like parade flags. At night
our beds smelled of ponderosa, sun and mountain air,
as they must here, so many years later,
so many states apart.
Photo Credit: “Clothes Line,” Carlos Porto, courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net