At some point we are beyond
picking loose what binds us
one stitch at a time.
The fabric will not smooth itself
back onto the waiting spool
with just a few needlemarks,
its selvage passing as new.

At some point we can only rip
the seams
and open up a ragged divide
over the pattern
we drew together,
the detritus of broken thread
falling from our ruptured edges.

History has taught me a few things.
Repairs are in order
after such a rending.
To keep from unraveling,
gather the fray,
whipstitch into place.
Shore up the fat welt
with boning.
Tuck back. Baste.

Do this often enough
and nothing pliable remains,
just a bundle of scars
dense as a scowl
and nothing can pierce
the petrified mass
but the teeth of a chainsaw,
the smack of the axe.

History has taught me
the trick to staying soft:
Remain one thin
but whole
bolt of cloth.

History has a tendency
to slap her students’ knuckles
with a ruler.
I am a mediocre seamstress
and an even poorer pupil.

We lay one across and over the other
premature promises the shuttlecock
we fire between our loose
and drifting tendrils.
This is how we bind ourselves together,
our edges no longer clean
or even our own.

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