What Storm, What Thunder – Marianne Peel

Wet joy and scrubbings

Brave & Reckless

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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