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In the Basement

Christopher Wiseman
From:   Postcards Home: Poems Selected & New. 1988


Check the laundry room
During the day and you'll see them,
Washer and dryer, standing quietly
Next to each other, a matched pair
Minding their own business.
At night it's different.
Under the complacent sleep
Of this Calgary suburb
Something strange is going on.

It's not surprising.
Think of their frustration
Standing day after day
With bare white flanks touching
Each throbbing with power
But programmed separately.
No wonder they go mad
When we're not there.

Exactly what they do we don't know —
Genial couplings with hoses
Switches and cords;
Clumsy titanic orgies —
We have never disturbed them.
All we know is that in the mornings
Beads of cooling moisture
Stand on their gleaming sides,
The basement air is warm,
And on the floor
Confused marks of castors
And a sinister trace of suds.

One night perhaps we shall creep
Down and surprise them.
But now, our claim to the house less,
We go to bed earlier and earlier.



Christopher Wiseman's works copyright © to the author.


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