Like Lady Macbeth, guilt
my mother washed.
floors, counters, the bathroom.
Then she started on the curtains, workpants,
sheets, towels, blankets from the dog bed.
If we stood still long
enough, she’d make us take off what we were wearing
so she could wash it.
She spent hours in the cellar
running clothes through the wringer,
in winter hanging them on the lines down there.
In summer she lugged it all outside.
If she ran out
she started over.
It never eased her
never made her clean.
But we stood up, sparkling.
Cher Holt-Fortin (email@example.com) is a san dan in aikido and a fierce quilter.