top of page


My mother stands in this black
and white arrangement of shadows
in the sunny backyard of her marriage,
struggling with the white ghosts
of her family on the line.

I watch from my blanket on the grass
as my mother’s blouses lift and billow,
bursting with the day.
My father’s white work shirts
wave their empty sleeves at me
and my own little shorts and pants
flap and exult like flags
in the immaculate light.

It is mid-century, and the future lies
just beyond the white borders
of this snapshot. Soon that wind
will get the better of her
and her marriage. Soon the future
that I live in will break
through those borders and make
a photograph of her—but

for now the shirts and blouses
are joyous with her in the yard
as she stands with a wooden clothespin
in her mouth, struggling to keep
the bed sheets from blowing away.

—from the collection The Good Kiss, available on Amazon.



“I look at this image and think of the great lines from the early 20th century poet, Rilke, in a poem describing a photo of his father: ‘Oh slowly vanishing photograph in my more slowly vanishing hand.’”

Share this poem to your social media page:

  • Laundry
bottom of page