The lines sag deeper and deeper with sweet wet gossip. 
The clever pins do headstands all day, jaws clenched.

My parents preached the virtues of clothes dried outside. 
Dryers are a rich man's fad, the static can kill you.

A Halloween of underwear, haunting the neighborhood. 
The socks' threadbare parody of Christmas morning.

The shirts surrender, they pray, they are crucified. 
The hung pants stiffen like casts in the hungry sun.

I press out their rigor mortis with Gothic devotion. 
I polish the clothes with the day's lost water and heat.

My parents were well dressed the last time I saw them. 
The basket feels fuller and lighter as I walk back in.

Copyright © 1996 Michael McFee. From Colander (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1996) by Michael McFee. Used with permission of the author.