Kim Nall: White Linen

today we celebrate national poetry month with this beautiful poem, White Linen, by Kim Nall, local songwriter, poet, spiderweb collaborator, and badass. if you skipped her band's show at Dan's Silverleaf last night (Kim Nall & The Fringe), you missed a great one, but luckily for you there's still time to catch her reading this saturday at the Poetry Party in denton! Kim has a great writing exercise to get your brain smokin' as we approach the weekend of festivities: Write about an overheard conversation that challenge your impressions of the people having it.

White Linen

I am dragging myself through the day,
through the things that do not wait for grief.

I drag the basket from the hall.
It is heavy, solid, familiar.
I tilt the cup just so over the iron,
watch the steady, clear stream.
I turn the dial with expert fingers
and smooth a skirt over the board.

I run my fingers over the fabric,
feel the many washings, the loose seams
that refuse to finally rip.

I heft the iron,
smooth it over the folds.
It is over before I am finished.

I reach into the basket for another, falling into a rhythm.
I begin to spread a shirt over the board,
alabaster waves of soft linen
heavy like an albatross in my hands.

I stop.
Too many folds.

I freeze for a moment.
It fills my eyes, cold and innocent,
sleeves fluttering
like discarded plumage.

Steam fills the room,
settles in a single moist drop
on my cheek.
I feel the weight of the iron,
hot metal burning orange in my hand.
I could leave my mark.
I could press down hard until the smell of burning fibers
filled the room.
I could starch the hell out of it
and then rip it in two-
A clean break.

I lower my weapon
and gingerly begin
to smooth out the folds.


Kim Nall is a songwriter, poet, and high school English teacher. Her poems have been published in Spiderweb Salon zines and Poetry Quarterly. Her band, Kim Nall & The Fringe, released its debut album, Lay Your Vision Down, in January.

Kim Nall at spiderweb salon's third annual winter formal | photo by Leah Jones | 2016

Kim Nall at spiderweb salon's third annual winter formal | photo by Leah Jones | 2016