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February 20, 2011 / Siobhan Argent

The Clothesline (fiction)


It is a green Hills Hoist. Rust congregating at the bottom. Cobwebs spooling out from the top to a nearby tree, the thin line glinting in the sunlight.

It is laden with clothes from five different lives, together on transparent plastic line. Today the sun shines on the green, spotted bandeau, the purple and pink tracksuit top, the grey pants, the well-worn sports jumper. But tomorrow it might rain, so those clothes will only survive outside for one day and be replaced by another set, a mixture of old and new, ever-changing. The white basket sits underneath, next to the ancient ice-cream bucket brimming with plastic and wooden pegs, and the remnants of the last distant summer.

The garments do not move together, and yet they are pegged to the same Hills Hoist and will smell of the same washing powder and return to the same house. They are all influenced by the breeze, but the weight and shape and size of each cloth determines its sway. The sun has gilded their shapes, and for a moment the wind stops and a single still image prevails.

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