When I was trusted to iron
my father’s shirts,
white, starchy, cotton,
I took my time.
Smoothing the yoke,
then the sleeves, both sides,
the cuffs, inside and out,
then the shirt front, and back,
and around to the other side.
At the last, the collar, taking care
there were no creases by the points.
I hung them on hangers in the closet,
with all the buttons facing right.
At breakfast, I sat proudly as he ate,
ready for work, looking good,
no wrinkles in the collar.
This poem first appeared in Dust and Fire.
Used here with the author’s permission.