Time's Washing Woman

I think on Wednesdays there is a woman. She’s probably old with a gentle stoop and a foreign hooked nose that hides her smile. I probably like the twinkle in her eyes.

And, on Wednesdays, it is probably her job to iron and press. She probably does it with the ease built from age. But she does not have my shirts or skirts to work on.

No, she has my time. It’s already been made wet and limp by Monday’s vigorous wash, crying tears of exhausted tumbling, and laid dry and corse by Tuesdays drying, worn out from endless cycling.

And, on Wednesdays, she irons it, smooth and flat.

Presses my time so that there is the farthest flat space from one end to another. Granted, there are no hills or valleys to hurt my calves. But never the less, those wrinkles save me time. Wrinkled time is the shortest count down. So this ironing of my days leaves my time pressed unfortunately.

But, I think, on Thursdays, she folds. Her hands are probably strong and deft.

Plucking up on piece in ten minutes and bringing it close to a piece in a few hours, so that I rush through space skipping time outright.

It is as if I fly across the peaks between, seeing nothing of the passage.

She mends the damage on Fridays. It probably takes her three days to set it soft and whole again.

And I think she smiles as she smooths my folded week of time, picking lint off of Wednesday morning and sewing the rip in Monday afternoon.

It goes on the shelf next to the others. She is probably too short to reach and must get an old worn stool to stand on.

It goes next to last week, in the space before next. All with neat tags of the price I owe for such services.

But I think, the woman frowns as she studies the seemingly endless rows of folded time that belong only to me, knowing I will never come to pick them up.


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