1 May 2019 in Writing

The clothesline was in the back yard, not at the edge of the garden, where neighbors placed theirs. Clothes don’t grow like carrots, I remember thinking, and I wouldn’t thin a line of clothes by plucking and discarding the undesirables. The back yard was better, anyway, for the swath of thick green grass that separated the house from the field. There, the clothesline spun around, an almost spider’s web of cotton and denim, sheets and underpants, all crisping in the sun.

Actual clothes on the line were long ago; now, I hang the laundry of memories and lost loves. My head flops back as I stretch to pin each one on the line. From under the lilac bush, one of the cats observes my headless form. I’ve lost my head, that’s true, and thinking it makes me laugh. Clothespins fall from my mouth.

On my knees, I search the grass, not sure how many were lost but wanting to save them from the fate of the lawnmower. That would be tomorrow’s task. Mowing memories, instead of hanging them.

I fall back on the grass and watch what I’ve hung circle around and around. White shirts fill themselves with air. They’re the ghosts of men (or were they boys) I loved. They loved me like air—meaning, not at all—and yet I still launder them, every Tuesday, and hang them, and watch them dance above my head as I sink deep into the grass. Amidst the wooden pins, I drift to sleep.