Putting Clothes Away

by Merrill Oliver Douglas


More than half blind, she sees
I know nothing
about how to fold slacks.
Keep the creases together!
No sense pointing out that pants
like these are creaseless:
she crimps the two legs
at their centers to match up left
and right. Now drape them
on the hanger. Not like that!

Say each day you wake
in a world where nearly everything—
the floor, half your memory—
has turned to warm rainbow sherbet.
Shouldn’t you growl in defense
of crisp lines while you can?
Why is everyone—the aides
with their impenetrable accents,
her daughters in their unironed
shirts who drive her to
doctors and sign her checks
—too thick to see this?

Merrill Oliver Douglas’s first full length collection, Persephone Heads for the Gate, won the 2022 Gerald Cable Book Award from Silverfish Review Press. It will be published in 2024. She is also the author of the poetry chapbook Parking Meters into Mermaids (Finishing Line Press, 2020). Her poems have appeared in Baltimore Review, Barrow Street, Tar River Poetry, Stone Canoe, Little Patuxent Review and Whale Road Review, among others. She lives near Binghamton, New York.