The attic in my memory
smells of cedar and a musty
warmth even in winter
when we hang laundry
just my mom and me.
A rare time to be alone,
I clamber up the stairs that
frighten me going down.
I hand her
clothespins two at a time.
One pin held between her lips,
she secures a wet shirt.
I hover near her ankles
never near enough since
the baby arrived.
Mom doesn’t sing;
we don’t play any games.
She hangs shirts with precision.
I hand her clothespins, two at a time.