memaw
my mother’s mother
was the last person in my life
who despite having a dryer
would at times
still hang her sheets

to dry on a clothesline
flapping crisp and clean
in purifying sunlight

as a young girl
how i loved to run
through her glowing linen corridors of delicate pink flowers
cool wet fabric braising my skin
giving in
to kentucky meadow breeze

hung by clothespins handed down
through generations of mothers and daughters with aching backs
aged oak soldiers still ready
for laundry duty

(country people are funny like that
when you have nothing
even the simplest thing becomes
precious because it was your great grandmother’s)

i watched flashes of her through shifting panels
as i played

she would hum as she strung them up
between wooden pole and peach tree
giggling at me
smiling over my mischief

other times she seemed to be lost
the death of her firstborn son
18-year-old uncle i never met
1958
would creep across her face

now i weep realizing her strength
her uncanny ability to make everything right
for those she loved
in times gone wrong

the result being fresh
unsullied purity to the skin
upon crawling into a summer night’s dream
so soothing
as to lull
the most fitful soul to sleep