She used to hate laundry days, the acrid
smell of boiled water poured in rough tin pans,
the cheap soap peeling away her red skin,
and the clothes less than spic and half of span.

The washing machine, a wedding present
From a rich aunt, transformed the shade of brown
In the diapers and left them a clean scent
But couldn’t take sweat rings on John’s shirts out.



The multi-cycled electric version
Gyrates and rinses her unsoiled dresses
To a soulless clean–fresh blouses like hymns
And towels hushed to a bleached, holy softness.

She pulls up the white lid and looks inside,
smiling, wondering how she has survived.

–Shaun Perkins

NOTE: This is a sonnet in a series that is based on the lives of my grandmothers.

1 thought on “Wash”

  1. I remember my grandma’s old wringer on the porch at the farm in Earlsboro. She reveled in white gleaming clothes; no stingy use of Mrs. Stewart’s bluing and bleach at her house! The wringer was a marvel compared to the washboard. 🙂

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