They are deep in thought,
as they bend over brooms
clearing corners and floors.

Some have a tune
in their head,
some reflect on sorrow
while others seem
lost in this ancient chore.

Hair now gray,
stooped shoulders,
bones that ache.

The brooms swish
near the patio
where the sweet smell
of honeysuckle hangs
in the air, where
the morning glories climb
over a wall in their purple and blue.

Women’s work,
done with a purpose
as dust and debris
settles then vanishes.

Gail Peck holds an M.F.A. from The Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and is the author of nine books of poetry. Her poems have been published in Nimrod, Southern Review, Greensboro Review, Comstock and elsewhere. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net and a Pushcart.