HANDWASH COLD LAY FLAT TO DRY

Elizabeth Phillips

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,

a rake,

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.