CLOTHESLINE

They used to dance
flapping in the wind
holding on by a wooden pin,
my entire family
disembodied
but recognizable
puffed up with breeze
hips swaying, arms gyrating
twisting and bending with apparent ease,
then deflated
chests concave
skeletal thin
scarecrows without hay.

I’d steal in for a closer view
and when wind blew
let a frilly slip
lifted by the breeze
hang over me,
or move my face against
the smooth silk of girls’ underpants
dyed in pastel pinks and blues.

I’d rest on the grass and watch
the clothes talk back and forth,
the way an arm would reach
over to a fellow sleeve, a sashaying
skirt hip bump a prim and proper
flowered dress, the wild postures
the wind would bring, the clothes
asleep when breeze retreated.

The smell of air dried clothes
is still fresh in my nose, and those
wooden pins I pressed to imitate
chattering birds then pulled apart,
the spring stinging my fingers, gone,
as are all the lines that stretched
across my childhood’s backyard.

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