The Uprising of My Aunt
My aunt was always sweeping. She put her whole weight behind the broom like a man and that was my aunt. It was something and nothing to do with the dust. Then came the floods and she was the first to grab a yard broom, to sweep water from her living room, chase it hollering into the street. And when the time came, she would not get into the boat, she held them off with her stiff broom and they would have taken her into the boat but she wouldn't have it and that was my aunt. And always she believed her luck would turn. She saw how messes could be cleaned up, how a street, a province, a country could come good again. She would not get into the boat, she wouldn't have it and she stayed in her home as the water rose, as cardboard boxes, as mattresses and cats floated by. My aunt was always sweeping. That's how it was with my aunt. She was on the roof of her house with her pale straw broom. This was just before the house itself was swept away. She was waving the broom, my aunt was. She was waving the broom, she was sweeping the heavens clean.
Listen to Frankie McMillan read ‘The Uprising of My Aunt’
Frankie comments: 'This poem appeared in No Other Place to Stand: An Anthology of Climate Change Poetry from Aotearoa New Zealand and in my hybrid collection The Wandering Nature of Us Girls.