Sunday, March 27, 2011

Doing Laundry in Australia

Is there nothing less
intrinsically poetic
than cleaning one's own
non-metaphorical linen?

Stooped over an errant dryer
with an armful of wet flannel
and a mind full of soggy
sentimentality, I'm reminded

improbably forcefully
of a dull town in the Outback
of Australia's NT,
where we stopped to cram a week's

worth of camping-soiled
camping clothes dumped
out of our rented, red-dusted
deceptively elderly truck.

The proverbial hole-in-the-wall
of that notably wall-free, fence-cut desert
was a cinderblock establishment
run by an Asian immigrant

family marooned behind the front lines
of ancient dark and reddened pale,
where Euro descendants looked
suspiciously at the scattered

sullen Aboriginals who dared
scarcely ever to glare back.
It was hot. It was dusty. It had flies.
So much for the travelogue.

I've been washing my own
clothes and bed-sheets since twelve,
although I'll admit that
I've never acquired the knack

of beating them clean on river rocks
or hanging them neatly on the line.
I'm a lifelong habitue of the worldwide
demi-monde of laundromats:

Long Island, New Jersey, Michigan,
Montana, Georgia, Alabama,
Utah, Canada, Namibia,
Et cetera and Australia.

Yet here I am, reinvented
again, a married man,
father of a fuss-fueled infant
with marvelous irises

like those of her infinitely
(or damn near) patient mother,
and it's time to pull the sheets
and boxers from another


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