Monday, April 5, 2021

Folding Laundry Monday

The mind forages the brain
In many apparently
Random and haphazard ways,

As incomprehensibly
As a painted butterfly
Meandering spring hedges.

Today it’s flittering near
A moment a month ago
Folding my daughter’s laundry,

Placidly, when I recalled
How I wondered as a boy
About other boys’ mothers

Who still laundered their unders
Into their teens. What were they
Thinking, those others’ mothers?

Back then, I wondered did they
Sigh at their boys’ clothes? Were they
Just half bored to death by then?

My mother wasn’t the type.
We folded our own by ten,
And by thirteen I left home

To be a scholarship boy
And was initiated
Into what would prove decades

Waiting under fluorescent lights,
Feeding coin-operated,
Clanking, overstuffed machines

All around the continent
And on two or three other
Continents as well. Laundry.

Someone has to wash the clothes
That aren’t worn ‘til they’ve rotted.
Machines are a luxury,

I know, and it’s half pleasant,
Sometimes, to doggedly fold
Baskets and baskets of clothes.

It’s often a ritual,
When not too rushed or hassled,
And bodies like ritual,

While the mind goes foraging
Through the long hours of mere days.
That day, as the neat piles rose,

Thoughts fluttered around to when
Daughter was still a toddler
Attending her first daycare.

The location was too cute,
An old cabin in the woods
Once owned by the Park Service.

The provider was too stern,
An entrepreneurial
Spirit who scolded the kids

By warning, You get what you
Get and you don’t throw a fit.
Daughter brought the mantra home,

And it wasn’t long before
Time came to find new daycare.
But I smiled as I folded

A big kid’s clothes years later,
And today the butterfly
Finds some sunlight blossoming

Faux gold petals on the walls
Of a cluttered closet left
Ajar, floor strewn with clean clothes,

And might as well smile again.
Here we are. You get what you
Get and you don’t throw a fit.

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