Anne Rouse: Man Ironing

Man Ironing



Sunday night, you pick up an iron in a cold room.

It hisses, and long Lethe-vapours roll

over Monday’s wraith, that crude welter of creases.


Next morning, though, the white shirt preens,

relieved of angles, endowed with you,

hurrying off  to the manager’s chat, the phone’s peremptory.


Almost, you could be anyone, until you climb

the muffled stairs; strip down to the bleached

teeshirts of your youth. We embrace, and return.








Anne Rouse was a Royal Literary Fund Visiting Writing Fellow at Glasgow University (2000-2) and Queen’s University, Belfast (2004-5). The Upshot: New and Selected Poems was published by Bloodaxe in 2008.

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