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I wrote this poem one windy autumn day
20 years ago, when I still used clothespins!
Perhaps it will stir some of your own fond memories . . .

The Clothesline

From my window
it’s a comical sight, even musical
the way the wind plays posie
with my wardrobe hanging there.
Today, shirtsleeves wave to me
and flutter high and low
now and then
when wind swirls toss the trees
appearing
to be raising arms in unison
like graceful rows of Muslims
praising God . . .
they make their bows to Allah.

A merry sight, this autumn day
despite the fact that
folding clothes
will occupy my time tonight.
I still find viewing them delightful.
Never mind
that I’ll be picking bits of leaves
and twigs
from playful sweaters
woolen socks and sheets.

It’s sweet nostalgia
come to visit me today
bringing me to Brooklyn streets
and brownstones with their backyard lines
childhood thoughts of neighbors
hanging wash
tattle tales and peekaboos
hung dripping on the line.
Minny’s see-through underwear
and Bobby’s holey socks
Alice wears a bra now . . .
and you don’t!

Soon the winds will grow too cold
for hanging clothes
but still . . .
I might just do it one day, anyhow
just to see
the frozen stiffs come off the line
remembering
the laughter in our kitchen then
when Mother pulled them one by one
hard and cold
through the window . . .
clothesbodies
waiting to lie down
on toasty radiators
and dream away defrosting.
And I waiting too
to sniff the crisp winter’s air
that floated through that place
filling little heads with happy memories
times too easily forgotten
in a world gone electric.

Joanne Cucinello
1988