“The Clothesline,” Ensign, July 1977, 63
“Yes,” she said, “this is my house.”
The mantle’s wood felt dusty
As she touched it cautiously.
“My dishes, yes,” still red with cherries
And green with leaves, as bright.
The table—oak, familiar scratches—
How long since she had sat there?
What months had stolen memories
From her store of eighty years?
Someone helped her down back porch stairs
Into a yard with strange, taller trees
And a weathered clothesline.
“Yes,” she said, pulling hard into her mind,
“This is my clothesline.”
And with those words came dresses,
Helen’s dresses, John’s patched shirts,
And Papa’s pants.
Ah yes, now where was Papa?
Armfuls of sun-warm clothes,
Basketfuls of damp rain-rescued clothes,
Winds full of white clothes
Came tumbling to her,
Those worn clothes
Washed clean again.