Textile

“… dusty fields. A white sun above. All this road, going.” ~ Dorothee Lang

The line is a thread. The thread is a piece in a weft of fabric. The thread pushed forward and back by the bobbin, from a pin, from an implement that pushes the furrows and turns the field into rows and rows. Today I listened to the radio story on two sisters, factory pieceworkers in Bangladesh. How the older one was married off to a man chosen by her parents because they thought he would be able to provide. The reporter said she didn’t laugh anymore. She is maybe 23, has a daughter, 7 years old, cared for by others in the village. But she talks about not wanting to visit the family home because she is angry at her parents who have ruined her life. The reporter says I am sorry, I made you cry. The younger sister did not have to do the same thing— by the time she hit her teens, there was one other choice besides arranged marriage: go to work in the factory. I see in my mind’s eye hundreds of girls like her, thousands, washing in the commons behind the building, twisting their damp hair into knots. Think of shadows in the alleys interrupted by the fluttering flags of laundry hanging from tenement windows. The soot on the walls from their kerosene lamps, the meal they will share, sitting on their haunches on the floor. A curtain doubles as a door, doubles as a wall, a screen. But there is a TV. And a cellphone. They talk about how they make T-shirts: what stitches, what seams, how the collar must come to a point at the bottom of the V. Endless days like these. Like a road they hope will take them somewhere better. Every now and then a torn fingernail, close brush with the needle and the cutter. One of the girls thinks with a start of the thousand bodies folded and crushed, thin as cloth beneath stone. She was only thinking of the rhinestone earrings she bought at the market stall, of wearing it on the next free day, an outing at the coast.

 

In response to Via Negativa: Four Blogs from Germany.

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