In the dark of the yard
Under an emptying moon,
The fretful wind
Strums the power lines
Like a bored child.

A brilliant madness
To lug the wet clothes
To the yard harp
Along the back fence
And hang them up to dry
By the light of the emptying moon
As the midsummer darkness
Slips silently past midnight
And the mercury
Falls, finally, past eighty.

The Goldilocks wind
Loiters through the trees
Like a child unwilling
To go back inside to bath and bed
Now that the games
have been called on account of darkness.

There’s a method to this madness:
Stand facing the house
Where the back porch light
Gives light enough
To set the clothes pins.
The socks and undies
Go on the line next to the fence
Too short
To get caught in the climbing roses.
Tees and towels go in the middle.
Pants go on the front line
Where legs have room to skip and run
In the restless, dawdling wind
Under the emptying moon.

Sing a song of clothespins
A pitcher full of tea,
Hanging wash at midnight
Bring them in at three.
Sheets and towels to follow
Flapping in the breeze.
Bring them in at sunrise
Dry and fresh and clean.