Mother collects the laundry
in her office clothes and the judge’s
robe held up in a hanger.
It’s eight in the morning,
she is standing on a wooden chair
in the garage we’ve turned into a little
storage room at the back of the house,
walls held up with silver strings
— clotheslines tied above our heads,
and Capiz windows wide enough to breathe.
We both know I’ve been trying
to stop stitching fragments of my future
into this house, pulling each thread
that grows out of my skin
before it twines around the front porch.
Then some days breathe contentment
into our morning coffee, daylight
turns these strings to gold,
and it is easy to see the things I’ve missed
in my eagerness to leave — the way mother
stands under a hole in the roof
the size of my fist, and the way
she hangs laundry in a line — one clothespin
to hold two pillowcases together,
as if we lived inside a linen cupboard
and each room was made of quilt.
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