So, our work continues as we have explored the chores and jobs we had done in our travels. A lot of ironing seems to have flattened a bunch of fabric and that toil steeled the tapestries of our lives in many wonderful ways. And now the chore becomes Marie Elena’s and mine; choosing two poems that have earned their way into our collective hearts. All wonderful poems…but here are the blooms:
MARIE ELENA’S CHOICE:
Well, I’ll tell you what was NOT a chore: reading all your memory-induced, creative takes on the prompt. Choosing just one? Walt is right. THAT is a chore. After sweating through it ( 😉 ), I decided I absolutely can’t resist celebrating “high-thread-count origami,” “Monopoly marker on holiday,” and whispered secrets of a steam iron. Nancy Posey, only you could make an absolutely amazing read of “Ironing Sheets.” For this, I offer you my Bloom.
IRONING SHEETS by Nancy Posey
I loved the symmetry of folded sheets,
corner to corner, pressed and steamed,
spritzed with starch, growing smaller
and smaller, high-thread-count origami,
stacked beneath matching pillowcases,
His and Hers embroidered white on white.
The hiss of steam as metal met moisture
whispered secrets to me, alone
in the laundry room, creases stiff
beneath my iron, a talisman part
bookend, part Monopoly marker
on holiday away from the Scottie dog,
the little car. On occasion, I too
fled the company of siblings on bikes,
of neighborhood children, choosing
even instead of my books that simple
solid chore, deferring my drowsy
dreams beneath their smooth weight,
no single wrinkle disturbing my sleep,
a princess without her pea.
I come from a family of six siblings and the chores were plenty indeed. But the many chores expressed in this poem is very reflective of the poet; it is a master work. It weaves that fabric with intricate precision and the resulting swatch is my BEAUTIFUL BLOOM recipient, Daniel Paicopulos.
THE CHORES OF CHILDHOOD by Daniel Paicopulos
It was a small town, a village really,
and everybody had their special roles.
There were six churches and with them,
six types of leaders, one called priest,
another two were pastors, three more
by name and function, ministers.
Not large enough for multiple choice,
but populated aplenty to require each service,
we had one drug counter, one hardware store,
a small post office, an eight-lane bowling alley,
Sal the barber, and the IGA grocery,
owned and run by my family.
There were also tradesmen scattered about,
working from their homes and trucks,
plumbers and electricians and such.
Also scattered throughout the streets,
most of which ended at the lake shore,
were thirty or more taverns, but
that’s a story unto itself.
I worked in that grocery, performing
most tasks, like checking and bagging,
stocking and delivery, sweeping and dusting,
marking prices on cans with black grease pencils.
I steered clear of the meat counter, though,
never trusting those knife-wielding butchers,
unable to stomach the blood, the smells.
When the summer folks arrived, mostly
rich people who did not cook,
I learned to make potato salads and cole slaw
and baked beans, a vegetarian in the making.
The wealthy did not shop, calling in their orders,
and it was for me to take them their bags of goods.
Sometimes, I broke an egg or twelve along the way,
but they never tipped, so it did not bother me much.
It always amazed me that these people
with so much gave so little.
My work did not end at that store.
A sickly mother, an often absent father,
a large yard, and the usual requirements of living
all gave me chores in slew-size.
I can’t recall if I complained back then,
but I’m grateful for it now, that work experience.
It taught how to cook, to clean, to care.
It taught me the silliness of “someone oughta”.
It gave me strength when my mother’s
sickness turned to death.
It gave me order when my father stayed absent.
It provided the way to responsibility.
It provided me with broad shoulders.
It gave meaning to that lesson about
Saint Francis of Assisi, where he was asked
while raking the garden what he would do
if he knew he would die that afternoon, and
he said he would finish raking the garden.