Laundress by Gayle LaVallee


    early June. The hotel’s tableclothes
        curled in my basket, wet
            ready for hanging
                my joy among the strong white lines
    pinned to the promises of season, green grass,
            breeze just recently shorn of daffodils.
        I am tall, romantic,
            as I stretch them out, tight checks and polka dots,
            in fresh sea

    in August.  Rows and rows and six lines deep
        colored guest sheets
            across the bowed-down ropes.
    I pin and unpin,
        pin again, take down,
        reach and lift and gather in
        sultry air, the sweating

    October.  The last white curtains sail
        the flapping line
            in crisp attention.
                the sea wind turns
    the empty pegs
            tuning its   goodbye song
        to lace and valance and laundress
        standing in romance
            folding the season

Gayle LaVallee