Frozen Embraces

December 25, 1992

My neighbor took my laundry out of the dryer
fingering my panties, touching me, almost.
Who is he to tell me my clothes
aren’t dry enough, that his mother
had taught him to dry his clothes well —
this neighbor ordering me to spend
money that I don’t have, not even one quarter.
I’ll just hang them around my place,
put them on chairs, door knobs, to dry
as we used to do back home where
dryers don’t even exist, so that my own mother
couldn’t have even told me to dry
my clothes well; she’d leave clothes
outside, on a line to hang wet
in winter, to freeze, then bring them in,
before going to bed, looking like dry fish
letting the pieces of clothing embrace the furniture
in our living room, release a fresh odor in the air.

Biljania Obradović,
from her book Frozen Embraces
Cross-Cultural Communications, 1997

used with permission of the poet

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