WINTER 2006-7

Barbara Hoffman

she set up the ironing board
in front of the TV
for the Vietnam War
thought it would be a long one

every night while she ironed
she watched names of the dead
scroll down the screen

she scorched a Vee
on her daughter’s dress
left black residue
on her son’s shirt

watching the Hueys hover
fat blades whacking air
more names scrolled
down the screen

she edged the point of the iron
smack into the curve
between her index finger
and thumb

when she ran out of shirts and dresses
to iron she started on underwear
her husband rolled his eyes

why not iron the sheets
she thought and bought a mangle
like the one in the Chinese laundry
set it up in front of the TV

each night as politicians explained
exclaimed and declaimed
steam rose
clouded her eyes
as she smoothed
200 count cotton sheets

and her son turned 18


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