The street cleaner is a woman busy picking weeds that have poked through the concrete. A few feet away from her is a tree, where her broom and wheeled bucket are propped up. On a branch dangles her handbag – a bright one with red and pink prints and white faux leather trim and handles, not unlike the ones my own mama brings to work and church and the mall. And just like my mom, I would guess that inside that street cleaner’s bag probably would be her wallet and perfume and maybe a makeup kit. A woman’s quintessential survival stash against a busy, dreary day and a staunch assertion of her identity, even if her job is back breaking work on the street, even if her uniform is an oversize worn out green shirt and a matching rash guard. Even if she has to spend her day under the sun (or rain in this case). Even if she has to wear that makeshift hood and straw hat, she will wear lipstick and carry that printed handbag like a woman should. She would hang that bag on a tree and work hard for her daily keep, like a woman would.

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