Still Life of the Ironing Pile as a White Rhino – Emma Simon

Still Life of the Ironing Pile as a White Rhino

It emits a disgruntled air
as I keep a respectful distance
pretending to ignore it.

A rugged look of something
used to just standing there

dreaming of acacia leaves,
creases worn so deep
they concertina up like worry lines.

Of course white rhinos
are only white when a full moon
washes the savannah.

On days like this they glower
dust-baked grey, shades
of school vests and stretched elastic.

And black rhinos
are not black at all. They lurk
in airing cupboards

bleached out, faded, over-wrung,
proving the rule
all things converge to grey.

Casting a wary glance
I take a slow step or two
further back

from this brooding hulk
of household chores.
Although sometimes I dream

the hot hoof of an iron,
want its snorting steam
to smooth the tired folds

in heavy legs, ease out the ache
of all those lonely sleeves,
before it is too late.

Emma Simon has published two pamphlets: Dragonish (The Emma Press, 2017) and The Odds (Smith|Doorstop, 2020) which was a winner in the Poetry Business’s International Pamphlet and Book competition. She was been widely published in magazines and anthologies and last year won both the YorkMix Poetry Prize and the Live Canon International Prize. She has previously won the Ver Poets and Prole Laureate prizes. She works in London as a part-time journalist and copywriter.

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