Poem a Day: 12

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So She Sews

1.

There is a sewing machine.
One passed
from great-grandmother to mother,
that has waited on a daughter’s
grandmother’s
balcony,

over mountains and across an ocean for twenty years
for her
clumsy, too big hands to
thread bobbin and hesitantly slide the fabric of the universe
below foot; twist knob, tap pedal with her
big foot
coax hesitation into hum
s-t-i-t-c-h together frayed sides of a gap

oils of her fingertips leaving invisible
indelible imprints on
cotton
as mechanical friction
smells of sewing machine
oil and heavy metal scissors
mingle

with scraps and threads and jigsaw pattern pieces on wooden table
the five o’clock kitchen sounds of neighbours
the stitch stitch tap stitch stitch tap
the whir of the fan:
these parts
sum up to
the weight of words
that fall like snowflakes on black construction paper
like typewriter letters pressed into a page in the absence of ink
absence of silence.

2.

Her mother picks the phone up
off the table to call home.
Time travels and time warps
the words that stick to sweaty
phone receiver, words that
might mend
a tear in the fabric of the
universe,

words that
will ask her father if
he can find a newspaper clipping
at the bottom of a drawer
under paperclips and receipts and phone bills
and mail that article express
so it will arrive in time for the cremation of her grandfather,

words
that will ask him if he can find
the newspaper article that slid off her grandfather’s lap
as they rolled his wheelchair out of the hospital
days before he passed, the only copy of

the only
printed interview about his life, so the story
pressed into that newsprint can be
released into the afterlife.

Her grandmother will thank him then,
though his
foreign ears will not twist the sounds
of her words
to fit the fabric of his universe.

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