Regarding Itzhak Perlman, Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D Minor Opus 47 & Ironing

Regarding Itzhak Perlman, Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D Minor Opus 47 & Ironing

 (2nd Place Winner Atlanta Review’s 1999 International Poetry Competition)


alright, let me try to explain

about ironing cotton sheets

 

they start out crumpled like a wad of paper mistakes

so some of us women set up an ironing board

and begin a task we would not allow you to pay us to do

 

after all we can command Itzhak Perlman to bow us back into our senses

as we spray the water and watch the flowery sheets pucker

the mist floats before us and drifts down

moistening the back of our hands, the bare skin of our brown legs

and we set down the bottle

to lift the scalding iron

move it slowly

across the damp wrinkles

that give way

like helpless girls

caught in the inexhaustible heat of their first kiss

and with each pass of the flat, hot steel

the comforts of a newly-made bed unfurl

so our hands shake out the next section

and our palms lie flat to smooth outward toward the corners

before we lift the bottle and begin again

 

and we take our time because the music takes its time

we inhale the rich scent

of the heated cotton

a mix of soap and toast

because cotton more than any other fabric

loves to be pampered and pressed

then we fold the sheet five times

stopping

to press the sides each time

just to be sure

and before we move it from the ironing board

we run our fingers over it

feel its comforting thickness

pick it up as if we were carefully weighing and measuring it

like produce

though we are really savoring the warmth and softness of our work

then we let it fall with a heavy thump into

our luxuriously empty laundry basket

to be taken up

kept in the cool darkness of the linen closet

and given time to store up countless dreams

that will

eventually

unroll like movies under the late night stars

accompanied by the Boston Symphony Orchestra