Rich & i fix your old sewing machine—

off-white neck & silver hands—
eye turning to catch red thread—


dad gets me thimbles—


i love home economics class even though i don’t know what economics means—the sterile
white-tile class room—white washing machines & dryers—white dishwasher—

sewing machines humming as the 7th grade boys scoff & refuse to sew—


they’re scared of becoming women—


i crave the steady pull—needle dipping—stretch—tug—cloth mouth stitching shut—what
words were there on the other side?


this is the first time i find my grandmother’s mouth—a line never finished—practicing
sewing on printer paper—


we make draw-string bags—


i come afterschool to sew more rows—i don’t make anything—

i take the most colorful scrap fabrics—patience practicing—


the pedal—planting black thread in a field of mauve—lavender print meadow—

when will we take root?


did you learn to sew from your mother? how old were you? how many times did you
embroider your lips—what hymns did you hum?


Rich & i fix your old sewing machine—

she has an off-white neck & silver hands—
eye turning to catch red thread



we get our supplies from the dollar store
on Sunday night when we should both be on the sofa—


him & i take turns threading the bobbin until finally string catches—

we sit discovering the slight tremors of our hands—prick fingers on the needle—


don’t tell mom—

don’t tell mom— i’m not scared of blood & i don’t want to work with thimbles—


we discover fabric—we’re ambitious—we’ll make kimonos & capes


i hide in the racks at Joann Fabrics & he tells me we can make anything—

brush of pink silk & red superhero pleather—


when you were eleven did you want to sew extravagantly? did you imagine patterns of
billowing pleats & vibrant indigo hems?


did you immerse your needles

in the ceiling—pull in your waist—become duchess & deacon—


we need your help—it’s past our bed time & the light

above the presser foot is dim—orangish & glowing


we will never end up making any clothing but we will

have fabric in the closet—


folded into squares & some

nights i’ll wander over & wrap myself—feel the caress of an apron

you once made—pins still waiting—

i put them in my mouth
slim cigarettes or knives—


Rich & i fix your old sewing machine—

She has an off-white neck & silver hands—

eye turning to catch red thread