Death Sweeps the Floor

Sage sweeping in mask

Death sweeps the floor.

I walked into the house after hanging laundry this morning, my eyes full of sunshine and my ears full of birdsong, when I saw Death sweeping the dining room floor.

Further inspection revealed that Death was actually my nine-year-old son clad in his Halloween costume. Both startled and relieved, I couldn’t help laughing.

Indignant, Sage reprimanded me for laughing at his beloved costume. “I wasn’t laughing AT your costume,” I explained, fighting to keep a straight face. “Trust me, it still creeps me out as much as ever. I was just laughing because you don’t often see Death sweeping the floor.”

“I’m not DEATH,” he protested. “I’m the PUMPKIN SLAYER.”

I apologized for my error, took a photo to document the experience, and let him carry on with his preparations for Grandma’s arrival. (Fortunately, the costume was lying limply on the couch by the time she arrived.)

Still, the whole death/sweeping juxtaposition made me think of Emily Dickinson’s poem “The Bustle in a House”:

The Bustle in a House
The Morning after Death
Is solemnest of industries
Enacted upon Earth
The Sweeping up the Heart
And putting Love away
We shall not want to use again
Until Eternity –
Somehow, I don’t think this morning’s scene was quite what she had in mind. But at least the floors are clean.
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2 comments

  1. Sage and Ian, my grandson, would get along royally. Both like dress-up!

  2. I caught the line: ” . . . after hanging laundry” on the line. I miss doing that!

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