Mondays were wash days
How did that tradition start?
Rituals and old wives’ tales
Pulling the diagonal corners
Stretching the cotton
Pegs colour match clothes
Living in Zimbabwe
Ironing. Ironing pillowcases and sheets
Ironing. Ironing cotton underpants, towels and shirts
Hang all nylons inside
Anything that can’t be ironed
Dries inside, away from the flies.
Flies lay their eggs in bulky, wet seams
Eggs that later burrow into skin
To grow into maggots.
Putzis. The dreaded diagnosis.
Always around underpants elastic
Or t-shirts’ armpits and necklines
Still damp, bulky seams ideal for hatching.
Only ironing everything will kill the eggs.
Putzis. Big red lumps grow.
Slather Vaseline on the head
Suffocate the maggot!
Squeeze. Squeeze, squeeze out the larvae
So embarrassing to have your Mum
Squeezing putzis from your bum!
(*** Putzis is pronounced Put-seas. A parasitic blowfly.)
– Julia Vaughan