In the days before washing machines,
Mother kept our clothes scrubbed
wash-board clean, hung up on a line
in size places—bloomers led the way.

When I was a kid, I thought big bloomers
were a pirate’s flag, billowing in the wind.
I wanted to paint a skull & crossbones
on them to keep the enemy at bay.

As I grew older, I was embarrassed
about Mother’s increasing heft
after giving birth to 3 sons.

I’d hear my parents giggle in bed,
and wondered what could be going on
after finding a stash of Father’s photos —

freckled-faced Irish beauties
who worked in his typing pool
and shopped for skin bikini panties
before Victoria’s Secret even existed.