You wake up knowing you'll work.
You don't worry that circumstances will hurt
your chances to choose your labor. It seems
your choice is made. Reams
of fabric undergird your life. But fate may
lead you down a surprising path. One day
you may wake up and find you had more choices
than you knew. You leave your bed, your home, with voices
carried in your head of who you leave behind. Here
you live out your path with collective memory. Veneer
line — I worked for three months between Lejeune
and college. After two babies. Worked to the tune
of minimum wage, ten-hour days, and culled furniture. Once I went
into the deafening grind and buzz of the machine room. My only factory stint.
Never set foot in a towel mill. But that doesn't matter.
I dreamed my mother's and grandmother's dreams. Dreams of clatter
and snap, of doffers and fixers, of motion. I dream thread streaming from cotton icicles
mounted on frames. Spinning dripping cones feeding hungry looms that pulse and
as they weave. Shuttles throwing thread. Clack-thump. Clack-thump.
Hammering sirens sing fiber into endless reams of cloth. Clack-thump.
Whir. Whir. Whir. Fibrous colors drape the architecture
of my sleep. Clacking and whirring lift louder and louder to rapture.
Published: 22 June 2006
© 2006 Darnell Arnoult and Southern Spaces