by Diane Webb

In the wash house
she feeds
sheets through the wringer

feed and pull
feed and pull

Oxydol suds spit
from the machine
ooze across the
worn wooden floor

A bubble escapes
prisms dancing

Orange tabby
shifts his gaze
to the circle of soap

Sheets washed
at first light
hang like white flags

Bumble bee glides
into the folds
his shadow fat
as the yellow sun

She brings
the next load
basket on hip
apron stretched
across pregnant belly

Orange tabby
licking his paw
pauses to watch

She takes dry sheets
from the line
Bumble bee hovers

Clorox scents the air
She folds
white on white

A train whistle
slices the silence

Beads of sweat
on her dark skin

She folds
white on white
white on white

Picks up the first
sheet of newly washed
to pin

one after the other
after the other

she shades her eyes with her hand
gazes into the distance

one after the other
after the other
after the other

Diane Webb has spent the last twenty years exploring different artistic interests. While focusing on scenes she wished to capture on canvas, she discovered a talent for painting pictures with words. She has published an article, short story, and poem in WNC Woman.

About Whites—I was influenced by the paintings of Jonathan Green depicting scenes from his childhood in Gardens Corner, South Carolina. The rich Gullah culture of the 50s and 60s portrayed in his work is beautiful and evocative. My poem is an attempt to reach below the surface to suggest the loneliness and despair that may have been felt on the island at that time.