Marilyn Zelke-Windau


Washday Tent Time


White sheets flapped the cotton line

stretched from house to garage.

Breezy, the summer day

invited fourth grade girls

to the backyard.

Lemonade in one hand,

a brownie in the other,

bent arms clutched

the latest Little House books.

They were prepared.


“Let’s camp out!” one cried.

“In the middle of the afternoon?”

another mocked.

“We can make a tent of the sheets!”

“Mom’ll kill me if we get’em dirty!”

“We won’t. We won’t! Come on!”


They re-pinned and pulled taut the bedding,

tied the corners to lawn chairs,

ducked under the swayback tent.

Cooler, out of the sun,

they sipped, munched,

and lazed at Lake Pepin.

Try on the hour

as you would a robe.

Wrap yourself in time.

Pull the sash of moments snug.

Pocket seconds.

Exhale past the present.

Try on the hour.



Marilyn Zelke-Windau is a Wisconsin poet who enjoys painting with words. Her work has appeared in printed and online venues, including Verse Wisconsin, Stoneboat, qarrtsiluni, Your Daily Poem, Midwest Prairie Review and several anthologies. A member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, her first chapbook, “Adventures in Paradise,” will be published in 2014 by Finishing Line Press.ν

Erin Heiling studied art at Indiana University and stays involved through photography, design and writing.


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