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Genoways, Ted / Anna, washing
(2001)

Abe at the ironing board,   p. 16


Page 16


Abe at the Ironing Board
    Eagle, Alaska, 19oo
He shucks the plane toward the plank's nose, blows
curled shavings away. He runs his thick thumb
along the grain. Two months, he almost froze,
whipsawing this green pine-the steady thrum
of jag-teeth dwindling to a labored gnaw
and spew: a hum, dull in his cold-numbed ears.
Now, he rounds this heartwood to suit Anna,
squints to cipher sleeve-width, the way he veered
through Whitehorse Rapids, churned soap-white with silt.
They jerked like shirts inside Anna's machine.
He stretches flannel from a worn-out quilt
over the place Mounties painted his name:
this board floats, they said, your bodies will sink.
Anna, on shore, dunked tubs for day's washing.
16


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