WILLA Review Logo
The Women in Literature and Life Assembly
of
The National Council of Teachers of English
Editor:  Patricia Kelly kellyp@vt.edu
Volume 1
Fall 1992


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Hanging Up My Bones To Dry

What lies we tell ourselves
To believe in our faiths
And to keep on, just living --
I could never figure it out
Why my mother would hang clothes,
Frozen in the basket and stiff
In the January wind, my mother, 
Working in the freezing rain
To hang clothes in fresh air,
She said it was a small price
To pay for happiness.

Under her skirt, the wind would whip her
And dance around her stumpy feet,
Laughing in her virtuous face;
Her lips would crack, her eyes would water,
Then, out loud in the bitter air, cold
She would curse Saturday morning, her day
off,
Her husband, five children, and
That stupid cat looking on in disbelief.

 It's not that she was too weak;
Too beaten to see the point;
It's not that she had given in

To the enemy's clever trick;
It's that the winter sun
Really did make the laundry fresh --
Save money and electricity --
Prove that she was a godly woman, and
Made every piece smell better, wear better,
Like life when what you believe is really true,
Even when your frost bitten fingers are too numb
To feel your freezing ass
Getting a pinch of reality.

By Betty Hart


Reference Citation: Hart, Betty. (1992). Hanging up my bones to dry. WILLA, Volume I, 27.


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