Clay Matthews The 2River View, 8.3 (Spring 2004)
Tunes from a Washboard

The morning starts with a question: why spring raindrops feel heavy,
heavier than February sleet, heavier even than the weight
of my leg on yours in the morning, sweaty and dead
as a baby robin thrown from a nest on top of the sign
past the exit for the interstate that runs south
of here. All I can tell you about water is this:
Somewhere in another time at this present moment
a woman in a white cotton dress, wet at the edges, and stained
on the back with soil, is washing clothes in a stream
that moves only fast enough to outrun a six-year old jumping
through a green wheat field. All I can tell you about water
is this: She stays there all day, until the sun makes her cold,
dipping her clothes into the cooling rinse, making silent music
over a washboard, her fingers becoming dried apricots,
patiently scrubbing stains over her reflection
to the oncoming crescendo of slow, April rain.

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