My new spiritual discipline is ironing.
Mother ironed a lot.
She was ironing when the news announcer
broke into the afternoon programming
on our black and white Zenith portable tv
to say that J.F.K. had been shot.
I was three years old.
I remember the familiar, cozy-like smell
of sheets and shirts freshly pressed and hot–
steam rising in front of mother’s sad, sweet face.
The basement of the parsonage is cool.
It’s quiet and roomy and smells of years of clean laundry.
I set up Mike’s mother’s ironing board to use when sewing
but in recent weeks I’ve started ironing many things:
his handkerchiefs I used to simply smooth with my hand,
pillowcases, our COVID masks, the top part of top sheets
determined to fold over in odd little bits, our worn cloth napkins.
Under the iron, fibers fall in line
a quick spritz of water flattens the fate of recalcitrant wrinkles.
The hot, crisp smell promises all will be well.
As if I could iron out the wrinkles in my heart,
the folded over places in my mind.
As if the assassination of reason, the crumpling of decency,
the handkerchiefs heavy with sobs and snot from
demonstrators demeaned and detained by dictatorial bullies
could be spritzed and sprayed and fixed
with a hot iron and steam rising indignant off of sweet faces.
I am sad. I miss my mother.
Turn off the news.
Keep ironing, keep pressing on.