Elegy for the Clotheslines

No laundry flutters in the wind today.
No bright towels or underwear festoons
our lives, and no sheets billow like loose sails.
No one leans out the windows, gathering in
bundles of sun-warmed clothes with which we might
renew ourselves. Only the dingy air
hangs between the houses, under a sky
permeated with the lint of smog.

The clotheslines that once crisscrossed these backyards
are mostly gone. The gadgetry that used to
lift our clothes into the sky like kites
has broken down: now the tall poles lean,
their pulleys rusty and their rungs askew.
These abandoned ladders to the sky,
Only the ivy climbs them now. But night
slides down them still into the neighborhood.

:: Jeffrey Harrison, The Singing Underneath (1988)

No comments:

Post a Comment