the first time my mother does laundry, it rains

Tanner Manley

earl-grey green
rain seeps through
white faceless windowsills:
wash day.

lavender lengths of satin and
silk, hovering like hummingbirds
or breeze-filled whales,
swimming through our
billowing sea of linens.

peach scones and orchids perch
atop pastel terraces of
books, unfurling their fluff
on ladders and milky pillows—
nude feather-filled pastries,
veils flung into marbled puddles—
seams strung taut
from flooding windowpanes.

ripening wrinkles ripple down
her tropical palms, yet—
this is the first time
she’s wetted cotton
dried wool and
wafted handfuls of flowery
dresses socks and sheets
into the open empty
wilds of our living room.

apartment number 29.5, third floor full,
wrapped in three crescent verandas, two
with a gibbous view (a Mediterranean view
of waxing waterfront cranes, pecking
at waning freighters docked between their new feet).

laundry should be dried
in a dryer but this is Beirut,
or at least on white-washed racks
sunbathing on one of the two
scenic, bougainvillea balconies;
but beauty is in the interruptions.

a circle, a washing cycle: light/delicates,
ever widening.

my mother does laundry
for the first time, with lilac detergent,
in an unorthodox
spiritual way: indoors,
like hanging old tapestries
in clean, new places.


TANNER MANLEY is in his senior year as a violinist at Interlochen Arts Academy. He currently lives in Beirut, Lebanon, but attended school in Nairobi, Kenya for two years prior to his coming to Interlochen. He is previously unpublished. He finds inspiration most often while listening to Ravel and Shostakovich.