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Location: California

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Just Sharin'

The good old days at home sweet home

by Marge Piercy

On Monday my mother washed.
It was the way of the world,
all those lines of sheets flapping
in the narrow yards of the neighborhood,
the pulleys stretching out second
and third floor windows.

Down in the dank steamy basement,
wash tubs vast and grey, the wringer
sliding between the washer
and each tub. At least every
year she or I caught
a hand in it.

Tuesday my mother ironed.
One iron was the mangle.
She sat at it feeding in towels,
sheets, pillow cases.
The hand ironing began
with my father's underwear.

She ironed his shorts.
She ironed his socks.
She ironed his undershirts.
Then came the shirts,
a half hour to each, the starch
boiling on the stove.

I forgot bluing. I forgot
the props that held up the line
clattering down. I forgot
chasing the pigeons that shat
on her billowing housedresses.
I forgot clothespins in the teeth.

Tuesday my mother ironed my
father's underwear. Wednesday
she mended, darned socks on
a wooden egg. Shined shoes.
Thursday she scrubbed floors.
Put down newspapers to keep

them clean. Friday she
vacuumed, dusted, polished,
scraped, waxed, pummeled.
How did you become a feminist
interviewers always ask,
as if to say, when did this

rare virus attack your brain?
It could have been Sunday
when she washed the windows,
Thursday when she burned
the trash, bought groceries
hauling the heavy bags home.

It could have been any day
she did again and again what
time and dust obliterated
at once until stroke broke
her open. I think it was Tuesday
when she ironed my father's shorts.

"The good old days at home sweet home" by Marge Piercy, from Colors Passing Through Us. © Alfred A. Knopf, 2003.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Is He Risen?

Is He Risen?
As boys, my older brother was clever in devising ways to tease me to tears. One day, he came to me holding two bottles of Vernors. (Ginger Ale; look it up.) He handed one to me.

"Let's have a race to see who can drink his whole Vernors the fastest," he taunted. Knowing I would bite, he counted down: "One, Two, Three -- GO!"

I guzzled, snorted and slopped my way through the 8-ounces as fast as I could. When I was done, I found that my brother had merely held his bottle to his mouth. He drank none of it. The tease: "Ha, Ha!" he declared. "I've got a whole bottle of pop and you don't have any. Ha, Ha!"

The tears.

It's nearly midnight. Easter is approaching. I think of some parts of the World and think, 'their Easter is nearly over, and we still have the WHOLE DAY ahead of us. Oh, Joy!'

But, the tease doesn't work. He IS risen for all the World now for two thousand years. Oh, Joy for all of us, indeed.

Happy Easter to you all.