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Hanging on a Line
by Heidi Wallenborn
10/26/10
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Hanging on a line

by Heidi Wallenborn-Cramer

Warm winds puff,
lifting damp hair off my neck,
swirling my shirt around my body.

Sleeves cling to my sweaty arms
while I lift sheets to a clothesline
secured with an orange peg.

If not for that breeze
the hot would oppress me
with its humid breath.

I think of Australian women who have gone before,
and those who hang laundry in other climes:
sticky tropical, dusty desert, verdant hills.

I picture time-worn faces,
cracked and defined by age and fickle weather
and circumstances and life.

I imagine gnarled hands that grip
lids of jars of harvested peaches and apricots,
then put clothes and sheets on lines in the sun.

I'm not an Australian woman;
I see her in my neighbors, at the post office
and driving her beat-up ute to market.

As I ponder, black clouds break open,
the wind shifts like a compass needle
and hot rain thunders down on freshly laundered sheets.

-30-


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