Wet joy and scrubbings
We would caterwaulto high heaven
when the rains halted,
as my mother would say.
We knew that my mother would be tending to the laundry.
Saturday chores. From hamper to wringer
washing machine. To the clothesline
with pillowcases and sheets and tablecloths
and daddy’s boxers and my trainer bras
all suspended with clothespins. Our clean laundry
on display for the whole neighborhood to see.
The women would gather at the fence, where the four yards
converged. There would be gossip in between
slurps of Maxwell House.
We stole clothespins from my mother’s cotton bag,
affixed Bicycle playing cards
to the spokes of our two-wheelers.
Mine was a purple Schwinn, with a pink
padded seat. Camelia’s was a Huffy
banana seat bike, with silver and gold
variegated tassels suspended from the handles.
Her seat was plush velveteen yellow,
with extra padding. Even the pedals
sported neon lights which glowed.
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