Saturday, November 9, 2013

Restoring All Sorts of Seams

It's been awhile since I posted a poem here.  The last several weeks and months have left me wishing for less ripping apart of the social fabric and more restoring it.  I've also been missing my quilting projects.  Yesterday I went to a cloth shop to get fabric for curtains, and I so enjoyed wandering amongst the bolts of fabrics, enjoying the colors and textures (for more on yesterday's creative activities, see this blog post).   Those yearnings have made me think of a poem I wrote some years ago.

For more on how I came to compose this poem, see this post on my creativity blog.  It was inspired by a variety of blog posts, some with photos, that I came across in a short period of time.  And astute readers will note my never-very-far-away yearnings for monastery grounds.

It was published in the journal Adanna.  I hope it enriches your Saturday. 

Restoring the Seams

She used to count every rib,
a loom around her heart,
like the Appalachian tool
that spools honey into her tea.

But years of good food and wine
now hide her ribcage.
She lets the seams
out of the side of her favorite
dress, a dress bought long ago,
a dress stitched by a distant
woman in Afghanistan in a different decade.
She thinks of that country
come undone, torn and shredded.
She slides the seam ripper
under threads made softer
by the humidity of many Southern summers.

She thinks of distant graveyards,
young men buried in alien
landscapes. She thinks of English ivy,
that invasive immigrant, clinging
to the marble markers,
obscuring the names beneath.

Hours later, half blind from restoring
seams, she walks the woods
of a neighboring monastery.

The monks have reclaimed
an old slave cemetery, but a toppled
angel lies face down in the rich dirt.
She sets the angel upright
and brushes soil off her half-eroded features.

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