Sara Stasi

Folding a damp white corner over 
the stretched taut line
she holds one wooden clothespin
in her mouth,
pins the sheet with another.

Oaks are green and heavy 
in late August
morning fog giving way
to steamy afternoons.
Her daughter teases
says it is a waste of time
small gnats will stick to the white sheets — 
tiny disasters.
She hangs them anyway
prefers the expansive scent of possibility
infused by outdoor air.

Her daughter, fifteen
thinks she is clever
is bored by convention.
This future town creases her
leaves a sharp imprint
like a clothespin on a bedsheet

a reminder of what it feels like 
to be stuck
held against one’s childish will 
yet comforted by home.
A clothesline strung with tension
between youth
and freedom.

As a teen she
had wanted to bloom — 
unfolding down the road
To the scent of invisible jasmine 
the dark shadows of twilight.
She could drift in the wind but not blow away
held by her mother’s worn hand,
tied to her woman’s work.

She was pinned to this small town,
her creases made permanent 
by a stationary position on the line.

Her daughter has smooth hands
that text and type
they might never be textured by labor
By mopping wooden floors 
or scrubbing a toilet. 
Someone else will do it for her, maybe
a robot, or a machine.
She will let her unfold with the future.

Tonight, as she floats 
the fragrant white sheet 
over her bed
her fingers smooth the imprint
of each clothespin.

3 thoughts on “Clothesline

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