One thing I’ve tried to do with this column is to show off poets who do indeed write about contemporary American life, and who see deep into the ordinary parts of it. Here’s a fine poem by Heid Erdrich, who lives in Minnesota, about doing the laundry. It’s from her book “Curator of Ephemera at the New Museum for Archaic Media,” published by Michigan State University Press.
Given over to love,
she un-balls the socks,
lets fall debris of days,
leaf litter, sand grain,
slub of some sticky substance,
picks it all for the sake
of the stainless tub
of the gleaming new front loader.
Given over to love long ago, when her own
exasperated moan bounced off
the quaint speckled enamel
of the top loader
vowing: she’d do this always and well.
She fell in love then, she fell in line—
in a march of millions, you pair them,
two by two, you marry the socks.
Poem copyright 2017 by Heid E. Erdrich from Curator of Ephemera at the New Museum for Archaic Media, Michigan State University Press, 2017. Poem reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We do not accept unsolicited submissions.
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