Summer holidays, and time spent at home.
Wash day was memorable, helping my Mum.
The huge machine pulled out once a week
and a mangle, positioned on top,
in front of the kitchen sink.
The central turbine set up to rotate,
and wooden tongs plunged into the boil,
fetching out clothes for Mum to inspect
and, if ready, squeezed through the rollers
and into the sink.
Next came the rinsing, no conditioners then,
and the mangle, swung round to be used once again.
Hand-turned pressure released all trace of water,
and each lifeless item emerged flat as a board.
Taken and shaken, they sprang back to life
but then came the next stage, the spin dryer.
A separate machine, of much smaller height.
When the lid shut, it started up into flight.
I’d sit on it tight, riding my steed, until
the drain tube would stop me,
feeding into the sink.
Again, things were taken, and shaken out twice,
folded into the basket, then out to the line,
which, with a cloth, Mum would wipe clear of grime.
Each item pegged out to blow in the wind,
and fresh air was the fragrance left behind.
Operation completed, the beasts put away.
Mum would smile, satisfied with her task of the day.
Adele Duffield, 2018