Ironing a Sari

Gerard Rochford

This hand dyed cotton
unfolding on and on,
until its face and colour
are young again.

Such length is like a path
down to the river
which morning and evening
feels the feet of women

who wander from the village
to the washing place
and laugh about their men
beside smooth stones.

The cloth has no one now
to fold around;
a brown shoulder covered,
the other bare,

breasts shaping
a tease of bodice,
the crucial tucking in
around the waist.

And I am lost
within this task,
breathing warmth
from what has felt your skin.