WOMAN IRONING

Published: litbits.ca 2005

As I watched, she carefully folded the white cotton, ironing the pleats. Experienced hands flicking the fabric in that special way. The iron disappeared. She handed the shirt over the blue and yellow flower-print ironing board to his waiting hands. She walked around the curved end of the board. A blue and white checked shirt appears in the doorway. My window into their kitchen. The building just down the cliff.

First the collar. The flick. The shoulder spread tight over the end. Wet fabric hanging in wrinkles. Steam. The other shoulder. He comes back. The blue and white disappears. The white shirt, now unfolded, returns to the board.

Flick. Steam. Folding. Flick. The shirt is offered again.

She walks heavily to the balcony, her old stocky body borne upright and firm. The yellow flowers of her brown blouse with pleated shirt hang limp from her frame. She removes the blue plastic clip. A toss and amber hair spreads over her shoulders.

Her chest heaves. Breathing. The moon over Vesuvius.

Her hair is returned to the knot and fastened with the blue plastic clip. The blue and white returns to the board.

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