Clothespin

by Sarah J. Sloat
Desert Moon Review
Third Place, November 2009
Judged by Majid Naficy


Rorschach of the laundry sack –

I pinch your bottom and some see
the long maw of the crocodile
in a shadow play

or a primitive insect, a locust,
maybe a mother who won’t let go.

Little intimate of the bedclothes,
into your muzzle go rags
and nightgowns, trappings and briefs,

gnawed but not pierced,
not discussed, not disclosed.

Could you speak, your voice
might be twang or chirp, but
you come from the church that touts

shut your trap as first commandment,
a monk’s tongue sworn to silence.

When your joint snaps,
when it rejects resting ajar, all
that is conjured is the clack

of a castanet, terse, reluctant,
a foot stamped to discourage dance.

Second cousin to the mousetrap,
tense and cunning as a Gemini,
you’re yin/yang with an oral fixation

though upside down
on the clothesline, your silhouette

reveals the inverse,
a contraption that needs both
to take in and keep,

the house’s clampdown,
the control freak.


"Rorschach" is a psychology test named after Hermann Rorschach, a Swiss psychologist, who showed his subjects standard inkblots to analyze their interpretations. When I read this well-crafted poem for the first time, I did not know of Rorschach, and yet I felt that the clothespin described in this poem is itself being psycho-analyzed. --Majid Naficy

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