Her shoulders bend over the ironing board. In one hand,
a Coke bottle topped with a metal sprinkler.
In her other hand, the heavy iron, radiating heat.
She lifts clothes, starch-stiff, fresh from the clothesline.
They, empty ghosts, exude sun and spring.
The radio is on.
Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Gene Krupa on drums,
The iron in my mother’s hand moves with the music,
makes intricate patterns across shirts, sheets,
blouses, dresses, trousers. She presses her mark
into each piece. Her mouth a determined line
across the planes of her face.
~ Diane Wahto
Bio: Diane Wahto has an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University. Her poem, “Someone Is Always Watching,” won the American Academy of Poets award. Recently, her poems “The Conspiracy of Coffee” and “After the Storm” were published in Active Aging. She, her husband, and two dogs live in Wichita, Kansas.
Guest Editor James Benger is husband and writer. His work has been featured in Coal City Review, Comma,Splice, Hoarding Words, Kansas City Voices, Kiosk, Periphery, Runaway Pony, Thorny Locust and To the Stars Through Difficulties. His ebooks, Flight 776 and Jack of Diamonds are available from most digital retailers. He lives in the Kansas City area with his wife.
5 thoughts on “My Mother Ironing by Diane Wahto”
I remember so much of what you wrote about my own mom. Thanks for the memory
Very nice work, Diane–moving and evocative.
Lovely remembrance of our mothers and the hard lives they had. Made me see mine again – Mondays devoted to washing laundry and Tuesdays to ironing. A vivid poem, Diane. Thanks to you both, James and Diane, for sharing this one with us.
Thanks for James Benger for choosing this poem and thanks to all you fine poets and writers for your comments. This poem came to me when I was listening to some big band music on one of our TV channels. Suddenly I saw my mom at the ironing board and I couldn’t resist writing this poem.
I meant to write, “Thanks to James Benger…..” I suppose you get the idea.