White Goods

As I came down the stairs, the kitchen came
upon me, buzzed through my teeth
and elbows. The twin tub
having a seizure, a St Vitus’ thrumming
twist and shout. The shepherd’s crook
of the hose clipped to the side of the sink
snake-thrashed in ecstatic, peristaltic
incontinence. Mum gauntleted
in her Marigolds, high priestess
of the double-vented geyser,
thurible of boiled cloth and soap,
midwife delivering an abortion
of sodden cloth, untouchable offering
held aloft with a pair of tongs.

For generations, women of my family
were anointed to this: a vibrating vessel, a holy well,
steaming hole into which things are placed to be pure,
hereditary mystic order, like in The Da Vinci Code,
white goods. Even the mess of pottage
she pulled from the filter was Della Robbia blue.


Melanie Branton has two collections: Can You See Where I’m Coming From? (Burning Eye, 2018) and My Cloth-Eared Heart (Oversteps, 2017). Her work has been published in journals including Ink, Sweat & Tears, Marble and The Lakemelaniebranton.wordpress.com