Charcoal Iron

By Nithy Kasa

She pressed his shirts
to her last days,
squinting her eyes,
facing the ridges
that still stood over the years.

Steam iron
could not do,
she liked the old ways,
the iron of coal.
It stayed in a cabinet,

a jewel,
a recipe for her lover;

an alloy boxed,
a dumbbell's mass,
shaped like a crocodile's head.
Its upper lip pierced,
a screw like ring
for locking the zigzagged jaw.
The handle, a scute
on the alligator.

Hot charcoal
was placed inside the box for her.
Quiet, sitting, a shirt in hand,
she waited for the metal to heat.
Then used the iron,
the same as a modern one,

feeling each layer,
the soft skin of her lover.

Her back, a bow.
Her trembling hand,
a master.

She pressed his shirts
to her last days,
squinting her eyes,
facing the ridges
that still stood over the years.

Credits

"Charcoal Iron" by Nithy Kasa. Reproduced with permission of the author.