Washboards and mangles are on my father’s mind.
In conversation he will return to the soaked linen
of his childhood – its labour-intensiveness –
as though these shirts and sheets, ready for the line,
floated behind my head in a basin together
and he could reach across and bring them in
amazed how they come up white again and again
after all these years – the marriage, the ‘money-grubbing’,
the household overrun by lunatic women
putting one thing after another through the wringer.