Wednesday 6 May, 2009

Dirty Laundry

The neighbour on my left
has a large slab of stone
stuck out in the sun.
Each afternoon, when the sun is past his rise,
she accosts her laundry and takes it by surprise.
Spinning a shirt high up in the air,
she brings it crashing down on the slab.
Colours bleed freely, the skirt has seen better days
and all the broken buttons sigh,
but they come out looking cleaner
if less healthy.

The neighbour on my right
has a big white washing machine
that shivers in the laundry room.
Sometimes, it shudders.
You know something’s going on there,
but you can only tell on really quiet evenings.
On really quiet evenings,
the silhouette of my neighbour slinks up to the machine
and throws in a bundle of screaming clothes.
(If her dog isn’t barking in the garden, you can hear this.)
Inside the box, the clothes perform unimaginable calisthenics:
Twists, twirls, taps and the meanest pirouettes you’ve seen.
They come out squinting and with their tongues hanging out.
Sparkling, but almost entirely strangled.

I live isolated without stone or box,
but my neighbours are- shockingly- kind.
On weekends I hand over my whimpering garments,
first to Beatrix Kiddo on the left,
then to Terminator on the right.

I may be alone,
but I want to give my clothes the best of both whirls.