The Wash Prayer
On the best days I offer
this invisible work, this work
so easily undone.
So when the memory of sleep
is smoothed from beds, when breakfast
bowls return to their cupboard
I begin the litany
of laundry, sadly astonished
to see again the hill of clothes
slumped in the wicker basket,
all their pride gone, their lives
inhabiting other garments.
And if it’s a good day I lovingly
sort dark socks and wadded trousers
from the baby’s white t-shirts
and his sisters’ pastels.
Into the vessel, faithful as a truck,
they go, to churn and swirl
in their mysterious froth
making shapes I cannot see.
And after the dryer revives
each wet skin I sit
and fold these clothes into
safety, health, laughter,
home.