marjorie carlson davis Crumbs, dirt, a bit of grass litter the kitchen floor where a woman is sweeping. In her mid-sixties, hair tinged with gray, she moves like someone much older, stiff and slow. Even this simple task requires great concentration. Her eyes focus on the broom, back and forth, back and forth, pushing dirt into a small pile. Pick it up. Something to pick it up. She knows what she wants. It is metal, fan-shaped, and her daughter stands by the closet where it is kept. "Fan," the woman says. "Are you warm, Mother? Do you want me to put the fan on?" her daughter asks. No, not fan. Dirt. Broom. Dirt fan. She shakes her head, the words gone again. She feels a wetness on her face and stands motionless, staring at her daughter. Linda. I know her. Name. "What's wrong, Mom? You're crying." The woman looks down at the dirt and points. "You want the dustpan. I'll get it," Linda says. "Here, let me hold it for you." The woman moves the broom again, swishing dirt into the dustpan. Weep the dirt up. No, sweep the dirt up. Into the pan. Dustpan. I am sweeping.
Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Jan 4, 2002