An interdisciplinary journal about regions, places, and cultures of the US South and their global connections

Work

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
  ripple

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