"Women's Work" - Danèlle Lejeune



"Women's Work" - Danèlle Lejeune

The tractor and hay baler are stuck and broken, leaving me with blade and hot afternoon sun, swinging
the scythe back and forth through air
and tall grass, clearing a path for the electric fence.
That same fence shorts out, and I chase
and round up pigs from the road, the hen house, the neighbor's orchard, haul them home
in the trailer with the bad tire and rusting floor.
Soon enough robots will do a million other things
we can't even conceive of, I think, and set the blade down, sip the warm water and listen for my children playing
near the house. Check for blisters on my hands.
I swing the blade again, bruised shoulder aching.
One misstep, a slice through flesh,
tendon, bone,­­ the backhand of a misspoken word.
A breeze rises from the north, my tie­back hair falling onto shoulders, undone. Shhhhh, and swish, and shhhhh,
and lift, step forward, repeat, again.
Soon enough robots will do a million other things.
The children are suddenly quiet, the sky shadows. A storm eclipse. The wind shifts, lifts the ragweed stalks
and cut prairie grass. Pollen stuck to flesh, eyelashes. Birds flying to the trees.
I set the blade­-end deep into ground, lean in
on the handle and watch the clouds turn, swirl.
In song and myth, sky and the earth are woman, mother. But this storm? No. This feels like his truck
driving too fast on the road home.


Danèlle will be reading at next month's open mic at the Globe on January 2, along with Tony Morris, both from Savannah

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