The Zen of Folding Laundry–dVerse Haibun Monday

Today at dVerse Poet’s Pub we are writing Haibun to the theme of an ordinary day–one paragraph and a Haiku that includes reference to nature and a season. I chose to write a little flash fiction in the prose part of this, though I do find this task quite Zen-like. And I wish I did have a folding table.

The Zen of Folding Laundry
A Haibun (Fiction)

When the dryer buzzed, Maria set about the task of folding laundry. Not that long ago it was a task she despised—resenting that fact that her man changed clothes way too often and never raised a finger to help her, preferring to criticize when things weren’t just so. That was before her teacher taught her to meditate. Today, she tunes in to the robin song outside her open window. Breathes deeply of the fragrant cool breeze and the floral scent of the dryer sheets. Her laundry table is now covered with a checkered fabric and she uses the squares to guide the folds, noting with satisfaction the beauty of the tee shirts in a variety of colors piled high to her left. All is well. Tony hardly ever beats her anymore.

sweet pea scents waft in
refresh the room and soul-soothe
peace in this moment

25 thoughts on “The Zen of Folding Laundry–dVerse Haibun Monday

  1. Kate Mia says:

    SAdly this laundry story bRinGS
    back soft nightmares of Kuran
    where the wife may be
    beat liGhtly at the
    discretion iN
    hands of husband
    turned into judge jury
    and executioner of
    patriarchy .. in stove
    top burnings
    iN Pakistan too..
    oh.. the door to heLL
    is opened with soft dArk
    breeze low of psychopath
    eYes and dominating 9
    year old
    with evil
    power over
    free.. ‘Dajjal’..
    STiLL lives
    in books
    Lies miXed
    WiTh TrUth…

    Soft Lies gRow
    iN and ouT oF Love iN
    Killing Fields.. oF Ocean HATE….noW…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mish says:

    I like the way you set this up, giving us an unexpected twist at the end. So sad that for some, domestic abuse becomes an “ordinary” occurrence..


  3. lillian says:

    Oh the last line of this fiction is a sad one indeed — and we are surprised by it after the smooth, flowing, zen like tale. Such a contrast to the calm of folding laundry in which she finds peace and calm.


  4. lynn__ says:

    Maria is finding ways to cope but Tony needs to find peace so the beatings stop completely…I hold onto hope. Great write!


  5. Bryan Ens says:

    That last line of the prose section was like a punch in the gut. Powerfully written.


  6. Oh, I was just gliding along through this, feeling the peace, and then you hit me with that twist at the end. No, no, no…


  7. I find it difficult to comment without losing my temper. Just to say: I positively hate washing the laundry and the ironing and avoid it as much as I can. This kind of story is why I choose to live alone. I had a boyfriend a little bit like that. He didn’t dare beat me, but the word battles and being cast in the role of it’s a woman’s job – took too long to leave him. At least I did. Could.


  8. kim881 says:

    Oh I love this! I actually enjoy folding laundry and ironing, which I do while listening to Radio 4, and it drew me in to the prose – and then I read the ambiguous line: ‘Tony hardly ever beats her anymore’, which was made even darker in the resonance of the previous phrase: ‘her man changed clothes way too often and never raised a finger to help her, preferring to criticize when things weren’t just so’. Great stuff!


  9. whimsygizmo says:

    Gah. That last line of the prose punched me right in the gut. Goodness. “Peace in this moment” much needed, for sure. I am glad this is fiction.


  10. kaykuala h says:

    What a little imagination can do to make life bearable. One finds it useful to think out of the box without having to spend a lot.



  11. Oh, this makes me sad for the real “Maria’s” in the world. I actually enjoy folding the laundry, though I didn’t use to. Lovely work.


  12. thotpurge says:

    Such a sad life…accepting violence and finding peace in the everyday routine..but altogether more common that one might think.


  13. Arcadia M says:

    Very well written and the twist at the end really seal the deal for me. Great job.


  14. Patti says:

    Wow! This is so powerful. What grabbed me was the idea that being beaten might be seen as an everyday occurrence.


  15. jillys2016 says:

    That line! Pow! The contrast is stark and amazing. This is great poetry!


  16. Bodhirose says:

    This immediately brought to mind a book that I have titled “After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path” by Jack Kornfield, author and Buddhist vipassana teacher. After all, we still must tend to the mundane things in our lives as we strive for the “ecstasy” of a higher consciousness. I’ve never really minded doing laundry myself. Maria needs to dump Tony!


  17. Grace says:

    I used to hate doing the folding of clothes but I take it now nice and slow. I like the meditation that comes with the everyday chore. The ending line bites though, rather unexpectedly. At least she is left in peace.


  18. Pleasant Street says:

    I love folding laundry for some odd reason- took years but my husband helps too

    well written and I can just smell the sweet peas


  19. Glenn Buttkus says:

    Mundane is redone as marvelous, & yes, the flash fiction created a whole scenario in one paragraph (reminds me of the six-word stories we sometimes do on Twitter). I help fold clothes these days, & my folding follows the patterns I learned about folding gear for the duffel bag while in the Navy.


  20. Wow! That last line of the flash fiction (glad it’s fiction!) was quite unexpected. I suppose it not a stretch from complaining about imperfection to physical violence.


  21. kanzensakura says:

    I also like to iron. Although I take things out soon enough that they hang without being ironed, I still iron them. And bad bad bad Tony. Maria needs to whomp him with the iron a couple of times. I too can lose myself in folding sheets and such and ironing. Just float along with the breeze. The haiku is wonderful and says so much about this scene.


  22. Victoria says:

    I actually like to iron, too–for the same reasons. I will look up that Murakami piece–thanks, Bjorn


  23. So sad that Tony cannot appreciate the folding of laundry himself… Such a bad guy, and I hope Maria can find the joy in doing thing’s just for herself. I do like to iron my shirts actually, there is a wonderful piece of writing in “Norwegian Wood” by Murakami about the meditative way to iron shirts…

    Liked by 2 people

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