by Rosemary Marshall Staples

Fresh clean laundry hangs on the line out in the sun.
Blue metal dishpan, wooden clothespins rattle and clunk.
Brittle basket has sharp edges, heavy and ready to break.

Two clothes pins between teeth, a few in my pedal pusher pockets,
fresh-air scent, feel of cold sheets and fluffy towels delightful.
Mom would use a steam iron, that I never got the hang of;
I can’t even get wrinkles out of a handkerchief.

Washer butts up against my bedroom wall, white noise lulls
me to sleep. I dream of summer, all windows are flung open.
I hear laughter of children and transistor radios playing,
background noise like cheering from a Red Sox game.

Kitchen sink sprayer is what I use to squirt cold water
on anyone who sits in the lawn chairs below.
Their squeals are a joy to my ears,
sounds I no longer hear due to the pandemic.

Ocean Boulevard has orange barrels that block parking spots.
Beach is desolate, salt air and sea roses look cold and lonely,
fog’s so dense lately I wonder if it is crying or if I’m moving
and agitating backwards and forwards like a washing machine.

I live one wave at a time, hang on like clothes on the line.