By Natalie Burdett
After church, we’d drink Irn Bru,
wipe beefy crisp-crumbs
from our faces with the backs of hands
as mom and dad pulled out the twin tub,
pushed it to the sink to fill,
its whir spreading chlorine’s shock
through heavy whites,
bleach mist making windows opaque.
Our boredom simmered
with the scent of powder’s garden-fresh green flecks.
Their faces reddened
hauling dripping towels washer to spinner,
like drowned otters on the boiler stick –
but strengthened by hot-cold dry-wet –
as each load filled and drained.
Last, the dark load’s incense and grit
swirled around the space-pattern drum
with soft rinse water – slippy, blue –
gathered a tang of rubber,
splurging the sink through the curved grey pipe,
then a final tipping up
to empty before the washer went back,
a cabbage pan rattling, too, now
mixing metal odours with clean steam
fat spitting in the pudding tray – hot, dangerous,
roast potatoes – dry salt crisp,
a turkey roast shrinking from its paper wrap – meat fat
the brittle smell of the oven’s glass door
and the dog under mom’s feet
and us not helping,
and homework not even started yet.