Taking in Each Other’s Washing

Nobody reads your poems
except other poets and even then
you have to read theirs
in exchange, sending each other
dirty-underwear confessionals,
stained show-don’t-tell
peekaboo lingerie. Of course,
you try your best: soft-soap,
avoid caustics, darn everything,
exterminate their darling
little parasites, thread green
silk ribbon through starched
eyelet ruffles, embroider
Spank Me across plain white
boxer derrières, and send them on
to the next industrious scrubber
with a friendly pat. And then
your own freshly laundered poems
return: tidy, new, improved,
neatly pinned to hangers,
reeking of lavender. Why does
your corset now have a blue W
appliquéd to its front? Why
are there rhinestone buttons
on the fanny of your union suit?
Tie-dyed thong panties
are not you.

©2006 F.J. Bergmann

"Taking in Each Other's Washing" appeared in Cup of Poems #12

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