HANDWASH COLD LAY FLAT TO DRY
Big baleen comb straight through it
Yanking knots in the water and that stone Bernini
hand yes, that, straight
through the water, long toothy swoop,
the weight of it,
swimming in a lot of linen, the washer, her unneeded soap.
Big broad-switches toothy fan combs right through it,
broom in the water pushing the weight of it,
strong arm of the washer steers it,
and lower in the water her skirts, the
linen, twisting and full-throated.
Or the things you could shovel snow with,
dust pan made loud on the paving stones, your two hands
trading in, hoarding and swelling, too.
Linen underwater; ice pushing us into our driveways
& making unsure our steps.
For ten days it is said
The sound froze right over with the big green
thought of it, what’s under, the crosshatched Charles like a
fat reptile sleepy
You gross albino, the black-green same problem
loosed over his surface begging our surrender.
Elizabeth Phillips am a PhD student in English at Harvard University and a theater maker. She has not published poetry before.