Monday’s Laundry – Poem #74 – From the Archives

How white is Monday’s laundry
against the bright blue sky of Summer
hung from a clothesline stretching
from a third floor window to the telephone pole

watching grandma hang the clothes
my feet pushing on the treadle
while sitting at her ancient sewing machine
“Non giocare con la machina!”

Her wrinkled hands now leaning on the sill
looking out across a yard of grass
forbidden to tenants of the third floor
no dogs or kids allowed

perhaps dreaming of her mother’s small garden
the few chickens, an almond tree and wild flowers
good things that may return one day
if not for her, perhaps for me.

A sigh a turn and then a smile
as we together water geraniums
in a window box erasing the gloom
from the brown bricks of a Brooklyn tenement.


My grandmother Laura DeVito who took my mom in off the streets when she had no where else to go.  She passed in 1965 while I while I was in Eritrea.   I hadn’t known of her passing when I swear I saw her sitting watching passeggiata one Asmara evening.  A blink of an eye and she was gone.


About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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5 Responses to Monday’s Laundry – Poem #74 – From the Archives

  1. beetleypete says:

    Evocative of my own youth in London, Frank. Lovely stuff.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jfwknifton says:

    The Irish poet Francis Ledwidge is said to have been seen in 1917 outside Phoenix Park in Dublin, and to have said hello to some of his friends. This was at the moment of his death in the Battle of Passchendaele in France.
    This “ghost seen elsewhere at the moment of death” does occur regularly but try as I might, I can’t think of the technical word for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Lovely tribute including the detail about the back yard being forbidden the third floor tenants.


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