I hang my laundry outside the window.
An old-fashioned way to dry old jeans and underwear,
blowing in the summer air.
I used to believe, people cared.
That some would curse the eyesore,
would prefer not to know how long my shirt tails hang
or the colors, and lack of color of my old clothes.
Or that some would think it quaint,
a habit from another age, dungarees in the wind,
shirts like flags flapping their way dry.
Or some would be scandalized to know
I have briefs
in that color.
I used to believe, people cared,
but time has told me, most don’t.
None of us are clean all the time.
None of us own closets of the pristine and new.
We all have holes and odd things hanging from our lines.
What matters is the effort to clean them,
to rinse out the smell of hard work and sin,
and start again, more worn and fresh
a second chance to wear that red shirt
that has faded with age to near-rag status.
There is no need to imagine what I wear.
I just hang it up. Less for display than a love of fresh air
and the smell of this month’s flowers imbedded in each thread.
And the few that see scandal, that’s fine.
I’m glad to make your life more interesting
than mine actually is.
About this poem
“My life isn’t perfect.” the man told me. “I’ve done things.”
“So have I.” I said. “Want to compare lists?”
A true story.