September 24, 2007

Folding the Laundry I Think About Aesthetics

And the conventions of this poem, for instance,
the meditation pinned against the domestic
as the sleeves against the tee shirt shoulder blades

that never fit quite right but we cram
into a drawer anyway. The way slightly damp
cotton of flannel sheets should bring me

to irresistible truth, the coming together
and parting of two people holding the corners,
when in fact I fold most of our sheets by myself

in a hurried haphazard motion on the newly
cleaned carpet or bed, since he slows me down
with twisting his end in the play of an anti-folder.

I do not smile, except always on accident, to myself,
which is his favorite. Do you really want to hear
about his boxer shorts? Or what I think about them?

We could make them stand for just about anything, you and I,
or consider the sock wadded up in the pillowcase,
the tilting pile of clean laundry on the chair

onto which I will add this listing tower
of like put next to like for easy stowing.
It would be easy to fill each item with body,

mention the socks rolled into pairs that keep
their knees together, the bras that dry in the open air
no matter what anyone says and work it into a metaphor

of love and life together, a dream of the ordinary
poem that makes some laundry magic again
if not particularly moral or worthy of praise.

—Kathrine Varnes
first appeared in Segue, issue 1.1

Posted by dwaber at September 24, 2007 11:22 AM