Thy Dross to Consume

On being sturdy filler-material, and keeping things together

Illustrations by Agnès Ricart

Frigid and loose. Harlot and mother. In the a capella Mennonite Church where I was raised, we had a third important dichotomy for the classification of women: soprano and alto.

Unlike the suspiciously feminine sopranos, humble altos never got the flashy melody line or soaring descants. They were sturdy…