Hanging on a Line
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.
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