A crinkled white collared shirt is a vulnerable looking thing
that wants care before the week begins again— and on those Sunday nights when chores are welcome company, I'll unfold a murphy bed for the shirt, top up the iron’s water
with the little plastic cup, then wait as tiny lights flash and the iron clicks and clacks as it heats.
Then I’ll fan the shirt and begin.
Section by section, starting with the shoulders
making my way around the body of the shirt
weaving around buttons like traffic cones.
Sometimes I’ll sing, no, hum, as I go
and the iron replies with gentle steam breath.
But when I’ve had a bad week
this process tends to go differently.
I’ll take that same shirt by the scruff,
pin it down on the board and strangle it
by the collar, forcing the hot steel plate
to its wrinkled white skin.
And if it won't conform to shape
that’s when I hiss scorching steam
at its stubborn creases, pressing down
hard with the weight of my shoulder.
After all this, I'll let the shirt rest over a chair
packing everything away, neat,
as if everything in order could control
how the next week will unfold.