Ann Keiffer

Street Sweeper

A low-level job,
a mindless job
some would say,
just manual labor
requiring but
a broom,
a pair of gloves,
and an ironic safety vest.
The street sweeper sweeps
with his head down,
looking at his work,
paying no attention to
crowds gathering
and dispersing like
iron filings at
opposite ends
of a magnet.
Sweep, sweep, sweep.
Just another mindless day…
except this is Baghdad.
I can see behind
the street sweeper
the crouching black bones,
melted plastic, ash, glass
and debris of the latest car bomb.
Today is a good day;
there are no body parts.
Sweep, sweep, sweep.
Work at being mindless.

Ann Keiffer/April,2014

Image: Reuters in San Francisco Chronicle


About Ann

I am interested in the strange beauty of brokenness, in transforming possibility in difficult times, in how we heal even when we can’t get better, in the alchemy of surrender, in the interplay of light and shadow, in the bounty of everyday wonders, in the gift of laughter…and writing about it, all and everything.

Recent Poems

Buy My Book