Amanda’s Sewing Things


Amanda’s Sewing Thing

Years ago your grown children divided
your special things: gold-rimmed china,

etched crystal rarely touched by lips,
a silver tea set covered in plastic.

They followed your penciled instructions
left under a doily in the china closet.

Yesterday, in a soundless attic, I found
your sewing things: buttons in a cigar box,

lengths of calico, gingham, and tulle
and wooden spools of thread. 

At the bottom was a pin cushion,
stabbed with a swirl of silver pins. 

It took me back to your farmhouse,
hemmed in lilacs and green cornfields.

I watched you unfold a cutting board
on the dinner table, smooth tissue patterns

over lengths of bright cotton. Your scissors
clipped through paper, fabric, silence.

Across the room, I snipped paper dolls,
longing to shape fabric but too shy to ask.

The room hummed as you pumped the Singer.
I edged closer, charmed by your flying hands,

picked up discarded pins and mapped
a twirl of silver atop a pin cushion.

Here, then, in the remnants of a lost day,
I pinned hope to unspoken designs

while you stitched love for color and weave.
Here, among the undesired things

of a farm woman’s life, longing
pricked my palm once again.

Finalist in the 36th Annual Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest, Quad Cities, IA 2009


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