Diane Raptosh

from Torchie’s Book of Days


July sky files another joy, and I’m out hanging laundry

on the lowest branches of our honey locust.


It’s Friday. It is,

as the kids say, hella hot,


and as I lay damp socks across

the longest seed pods, I am put in mind


of Wong Bock Sing, who at 67

took in bundles of wash,


labored over tub

and ironing board, then delivered his completed works


to local clients—all of it without complaint

roundabout 1913,


which reminds me of the eternal

neverness of now


and the girl

with the Justin Bieber haircut


I met the other day in Rhodes Skate Park,

who went on and on about the honeycombs of Chinese tunnels


she’s sure must roam the undersides

of this fair city. Legend’s residue, yes—


a work of what we might dub tall nonfiction.

O hungry readership, do you believe


it’s against the CC&Rs to dangle Shock Sock river shoes atop

the neighbor’s curb to dry? Did I remember to return two eggs


to Gayle next door? Those wine glasses to Peter and Eric?

We live in the land of the Shoshone and Bannock.


Shouldn’t I already have been always kinder,

more openhanded—more than a titch


more alert?

O humid river shoe, to be


means not to know entirely how to,

though if you could look around, you’d see that


while the din rages

elsewhere about Islam,


a new mosque, painted eggshell and green,

opened its quiet doors


on Cloverdale, welcoming Bosniaks.*

Anyone can come.


It is here, in what one Kosovar called Potato City

we first got these folk beliefs:


If you see a blue jay on Friday,

you will have good luck,


and Thick slices of bread

are called “step-mother slices.”


It is here, where of a summer’s night

you might go out to hear the band


Amuma Says No,

the accordion saying yes, yes, yes the whole while,


saying Sí, se puede

saying Hal luuqad marna kuma filna*


saying Halleuliah, Homeslice:

This is a good use of our life.


* “One language is never enough” in Somali

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Diane Raptosh’s fourth book of poetry, American Amnesiac (Etruscan Press), was recently longlisted for the 2013 National Book Award. The recipient of three fellowships in literature from the Idaho Commission on the Arts, she is currently serving as the Boise Poet Laureate (2013) as well as the Idaho Writer in Residence (2013-2016). Her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals, including Women’s Studies Quarterly, Michigan Quarterly Review, Terrain.org, OccuPoetry, and the Los Angeles Review. Her work has also been anthologized widely in such places as New Poets of the American West, Mamas and Papas: On the Sublime and Heartbreaking Art of Parenting, Classifieds: An Anthology of Prose Poems and The Glenn Gould Anthology. The poems here are taken from the manuscript she is currently working on, Torchie’s Book of Days. Her website: www.dianeraptosh.com.