O Calliope, spin our yarn and darn us. Damn us,
but dam also the wine-dark
washing machine held back by a silhouette against
the Laundromat light. Someone has to tip the balance
between dresser and hamper, rolled anticipation and
recumbent experience. Someone has to wear the socks.
She is here, our Prometheus,
to wear the socks. She takes off
her shoes in the library and collects
not collected works but a sunglasses UV sticker
that clasps our knit close to photons flung far
beyond the altar of books. She is here to bring the weather
in. To say, it’s cold. Heavy wool, you are loved. Spring is
here, thin floral, don’t let my feet sweat. When the runoff
broke records it was her who took striped aquamarine
stockings out to sponge. This wearing distills
the exhalations of a pea-patch, the airborne grease of the pig-fat
fryers on 15th. She brings us hay fever
from the straw-stuffed bird bones that must
pave the streets out there where she roams.
She pulls us through the mud that rolls
down Seneca through newspapers and rhododendron
roots and woodchips and exhaust until we are
awash, until we are the wrinkled tortoise-neck of traffic
extended from the shell of the laundry basket.
She is here to bridge the gap, the lint-lined chasm
of the cleansed between washer and
dryer. Ours is a wet empty to
overhang. She fills our fibers with the town
for a day, then rinses us
At the folded hem of the age, she is here to take us
off. We are either worn once or flung into an amnesia-
spun reincarnation. Our Prometheus
has two settings: bathe and
burn. She holds us to the heat till we shrink
and our world shrinks to the sun-setting horizontal
crack of the drawer or the washer/dryer door.
The world is there, loose as a skein and tight as a shoehorn
irrespective of her. She is not the world.
She is not the sun. She is not here. O,
Calliope, ninth sister, unmatched
odd-sock, break the cycle. The apostrophic
O of the washer drum is a maze we are too
worn to tread. So spin our yarn,
and cut the thread.
I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my socks. I’m not
the type of brave that can break bare-soled
into a sprint. I need a shoehorn to wedge myself
into the world. I need my socks as a buffer,
a sponge to hug up the sloppy affections that are just
too much, too fair a duly-noted scuff. I run
skid and lurch through more streets than can break the surface
tension of my city sun. And therein’s where the stockings come.
Heavy wool, you are so very very loved. Thin floral,
I would sweat without you in more ways than one.