“Heat” by Michael Chitwood
Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools, Hosted by Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003
A Coke bottle stopped with a sprinkle head sat at one end of the board. She'd swap iron for bottle, splash the cloth, then go at it with the iron. The crooked was made straight, the wrinkled smooth, and she'd lecture from that altar where rumpled sheets went crisp. "If Old Scratch gets his claws in your thigh or neck, you burn a thousand years and that is the first day." Our clothes got rigid, seam matched seam. Our bodies would ruin her work.
from Meridian, Issue 7, Spring 2001
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Copyright 2001 by Michael Chitwood.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of University of Virginia from Meridian, Issue 7, Spring 2001. Copyright 2001 by Michael Chitwood. For further permissions information, contact Meridian, University of Virginia, P.O. Box 400145-4145, Charlottesville, VA, www.readmeridian.org.
About the Poet
Michael Chitwood (1958- ) is the author of a number of poetry collections, including Living Wages: Poems (Tupelo Press, 2014). He earned a BA from Emory & Henry College and an MFA from the University of Virginia.
Learn more about Michael Chitwood at The Poetry Foundation.