Family, Growing Up, Poetry, Relationships

Backstitch

thread fleur

The magnifying lamp on its swiveling neck,
bent glass thick as thumbs
guide her fingers to find the warp
and weft.
Putting off the inevitable.
Pretty much the whole story
from the moment we begin.
Don’t tell the kids this.
Let them lose their grip on immortality
the old fashioned way.

To outlive the sharp focus of adolescence.
We should all be so lucky.

Magnified, her veins a watershed, each branch
a small river against a ridgeline
of bone.

Even on a hazy day
you can see the way the Appalachian range
rests in the shadow
of the mightier western thrust.
It has long since lost the bright teeth
that erupt almost before birth has caught its breath
from its last savage push.

From rocky
to smoky. That’s what geologic maturity gets you.
Softening, spreading, holding a place by surrendering
to gravity.
Pretty much the whole story
from the moment we begin.
They didn’t tell us nothing would last.
They just didn’t
last.

To watch the seaward drift of constituent parts.
We should all be so lucky.

We know these things.
Even if we have failed to know them.
Our failures don’t stand a chance
against the knowing.

She did not say the name of the fabric: Aida.
I know it now as if she told me
which in a way, she did.
Held tight by the hoop, tiny spaces between the weave
she filled with aquamarine,
olive, pumpkin,
ochre, amber, rust.
Through those squares of light she fed her needle
trailing its tail of floss.

I did not see her do this
or rather, I did not watch
as she stitched a field
of color right there
in her powder blue chair
in the living room,
invisible
to me.
My adolescent sight too sharp
to see.

By then, she was already working through thick lit glass
until even that curve
could not bend light enough
to part the clouds.
Then the lamp stayed off, angled away.
Aida in the drawer
in the back room with her half finished face
folded around uncut strands of turquoise.

“Sugar, could you rub my hands?”
The knowing had settled in enough by then
for me to say yes.

To have a chance to say yes.
We should all be so lucky.

Smoky, not rocky,
currents slowing to eddies,
I press my fingers into the shadows
along the soft slope
bone.


Photo by Fleur on Unsplash

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