The Stick

When I was a boy
we had a washing machine
too small for the loads
we stuffed it with and by the side
of the washing machine

we kept a maple stick
cut from a tree we’d cut before that
to heat the house

and when we washed clothes
we’d come back into the basement
after it started and use that stick
to push the dry clothes down
into the water and the suds.

Over time it became smooth
and was bleached white and all
the bark was worn away as if it had
been whittled. It may sit there
in my parent’s home
next to the machine still as far as
I know,

but I am certain that I have become
like that stick that I have suddenly recalled
out of nowhere for no apparent
reason. Maybe I feel whittled
by the constant wash of living like this,
living a life too small
for the loads it’s been asked to handle,
stuffed with them over and over and yes,
I’ve been worn to a splinter trying to cope,

but I’m still here, 
a bleach-sanded artifact
of what was once 
a grown-up, cut down
and sectioned out
and plunged over and over into 
agitation, but somehow
useful still, and perfected
for my purpose, and good
to the touch;

how can anyone say
neither the stick nor I
have not fulfilled
our destiny?

About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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