Even after the first frost, our clothes dryer
sat idle and hungry in the laundry room,
though we fed the wood stove like a needy child.
With the clothesline you’d strung up in the yard,
you said it was just another luxury.
Being frugal was a game to you then--
how little you could take, and how little give.
So I carried my basket along the path
you shoveled for me, that grew more narrow
as the months dragged on. Blouses that had billowed,
beckoning to swallows in the spring,
now hung at attention like a soldier’s tunic.
A row of rigid socks were teeth on a jawline
between your dungarees that hinged in the wind.
This episode in our austerity
played out the way you’d planned it, though our clothes
were never fully dry when I brought them in
to hang on racks by the stove, and though
I often envied the water in our washing
that transformed straight from ice into vapor,
escaping unseen into the frozen air.
Kevin Casey is the author of Ways to Make a Halo (Aldrich Press, 2018) and American Lotus, (Glass Lyre Press, 2018). And Waking... was published by Bottom Dog Press in 2016. His poems have appeared recently in Rust+Moth, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Connotation Press, and Ted Kooser's ‘American Life in Poetry.’