Shapes that brush against you in the dark
A legacy of women.
By christina rae pater / Christchurch, New Zealand
Sunday, May 6, 2007
Mother, grandmother, great-grandmother,
a legacy of women who hand-smocked
lawn gowns, embroidered in silk thread,
bottled rows of pineapple-cucumber chutney,
plum sauce, and rhubarb jam
with the seasons.
Looking through mother’s things
I find a tiny satin-covered shoe
saved from grandmother’s wedding cake,
and a lock of lover’s hair in a silver snuff-box
curled atop a blind man’s photograph.
Sifting her memories
cold scales of the fear fish scrape my leg:
that my dream will die, stillborn lips unkissed,
that I’ll fail to make a French knot, or daisy stitch,
just as I failed to birth a daughter,
that my passion pushes love away,
replete in its own shiny orb.
Guilt or innocence a state of mind,
my thumb is up to hitch a ride,
that stitch, or nine, dropped in time
down patchwork highways
inlaid with symbols raised to make me trip.
The needles of many women gleam,
complete each seam on which I step.
I tread upon grandmother’s hands —
how easily they take my weight,
willing me to find my path.
Though I can’t sew worth a lick,
maybe I can fish.
Last Updated ( Sunday, May 6, 2007 )