Laundry Woman

My great-grandmother agitated
Mrs. Worldly’s wash every week
over the hot flash and glow
of the fire in the misery shed.
Hand on rough stick, grandmother
pulled around the glob
of tangled shirts and sheets;
she stirred as if hauling the weighted
laundry about an axis, sloshy seas
yielding a watery soup, thin gruel, sure,
but nutrition enough to feed her
fatherless children, nutrition enough
to bring us into this unimagined World.

Kathleen Driskell is associate editor of the Louisville Review and professor of creative writing at Spalding University, where she also helps direct the low-residency MFA in writing. She is the author of numerous books and collections, including Next Door to the Dead and Seed Across Snow.

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