Poem: Wet Clothes

Wet Clothes
I enjoy the rhythm of hanging wet clothes on the line.
The order, the sequence of the process –
gathering wet clothes from the washing machine,
the weighty plastic basket carried like
a sacrifice to the sun, lifting
wet clothes up from the basket
to hang on the line.
from the potpourri
of clothes; a random choice of colour and texture.
The rhythm of clothes, pegs, hanging
Occasionally broken
to pull a sleeve,
straighten a collar.
I feel like a priest washing his hands, then raising them to a god in servitude.
I am reassured in this ritual by the sounds of rituals that echo around me.
Lawn mowers are crickets
that change location like the wind. 
Buses growl to uncertain destinations.
A baby cockatoo irritates the world with constant need.
I hang the wet clothes and smell the dampness of wool,
Cut grass wafts on the breeze,
vague remains of cooking smells
tease and entice my memory
I swallow in half-forgotten tastes;
last night’s dinner,
this morning’s breakfast.
Tangy eucalyptus and acrid laundry liquid
blown into my mind by an impish wind.
Clothes flap loosely or hang with resignation
under the watchful eyes of a bright sun;
                        clouds prowl overhead looking for cheap thrills.
I casually glance at underwear dangling between trouser legs
            and try not to think of the implications.
My wife’s lingerie hangs straight down
            but is still suggestive
                        of the curves of her body.
I revel in this ritual.
I take down dry clothes with regret and urgency
before the sun sets,
            before the cold dampens.
The clothes,
            like the afternoon,
                        folded and stored for the night,
                                    for the next day.

July 2013


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