The laundry mountain: dirty, clean, dirty

a pile of laundry in a mesh carrier: orange shirt, jeans, sweatshirt and more jumbled together.

Today’s poetics prompt at the dVerse Poets Pub is to write a laundry poem. De Jackson, today’s host, wrote a great example called Spin Cycle. The prompt brought up tons of memories: The cramped laundry room in my childhood home, sorting socks with Mom, the drying closet in Sweden, hand scrubbing in a basin in the Ivory Coast, late nights at the laundromat in New Orleans, stringing a line in the backyard, and so much more. It’s going to be tough to narrow this one down. I decided to stay in the now.


After I mowed, I didn’t jump in the shower
I was hungry and thirsty
and had emails to read
It didn’t take long before my smell distracted
I reeked, such a stench
of grass, dirt, gas, and sweat
So I ran to the laundry room
and those clothes I wrenched
off and threw in the washer
then ran to the shower to scrub

While breathing the sweet gardenia suds
of my soap in the steaming hot water,
I thought of my shirt
that burnt-orange, long sleeve
U-neck with a front pocket
just perfect for the shed keys
and my small mp3 player,
so I can listen to audio books
and forget that I’m pushing and pulling
large rotating blades

When I pulled my mowing shirt
from the cupboard this morning
it had more holes than fabric
but I wanted to wear it
so I zigzagged those pieces
until there were sleeves
and the pocket would work and
slipped that perfectly worn
almost sheer fabric
over my sports bra and t-shirt
I comfortably mowed for
an hour and a half then
tore it off and threw it in
the wash just like that

To be soaked and agitated
spun, churned and wrung
then pulled still wet and shaken
tossed in a hot tumbler to dry
It won’t survive, not in that shape
but I’ll stitch up its wounds
again and again because
it’s not the long sleeves
or the useful front pocket
it’s the mow then wash
wear and tear
that has made it so perfect

9 thoughts on “The laundry mountain: dirty, clean, dirty

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