NGM (Jan.15,1987 / Mabolo, Sugbu)

The Washing

A man in tie stopped his heels alongside a woman
Perched at the edge of a river, washing clothes under hot midday Saturday sun.

Partly hidden in a lean-to to keep her shadowed while she scrubs the grime off the collar of her husband’s shirt to make it white again and dry the rest of the dampness of the laundry and in her eyes in the sun.

The man produced a tattered Bible and said
“Do you want to save your soul from the perils of the devil? ” he came closer and eclipsed the sunlight and the woman’s thoughts that were running deeper in the shallow water.

Never was there a reply as the washing resumed from the interruption. The woman sprinkled grainy chlorine to bleach the stains: greenish-brown on the shirt and blue-violet on her arm.

The man said again
“Religion will help you find a way” and again, she never took heed. The woman got up to wash the suds from her hands. The same hands that will wash the rice three times before cooking lunch for the devil.

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Comments (1)

I've read all your poems here and this is my favorite... strong thoughts and demeanor of both the writer and the woman in the poem. the 3rd and the 5th stanzas make up the stem... it says everything about the plight of many women.