Poems & Essays

24 Feb

Piecework

Toddlers to Teens No Response

This is the task
I’ve set myself
with a rainbow
of fat quarters—those sections
of fabric cut wide for quilters
—and yards
of muslin,
steady hand, tiny stitches,
needle, thimble, spool of thread.

From the infinite black
abyss come explosions of color,
I piece them into jewel-
tone stars: peacock,
tangerine, kiwi, fuchsia, dandelion, parakeet,
fastened together.

Calloused fingers that once rocked the cradle
rock the needle with a running stitch,
reiterating geometric trails,
quilting absolution in
constellations.

A mantra set in stitches,
a search for light that penetrates darkness,
nothing to do but get your bearings straight.
Stitch. Backstitch. Knots secured.
Each push of needle and
pull of thread
an invocation
to create order.

Disorder lurks in the lining
of my son’s thrift shop leather jacket,
and the laces of his combat boots,
a facade that fluctuates between racing thoughts
and days where he can barely get out of bed,
brush his teeth, cope with human interaction.

So, I labor on this quilt and
imagine him a grown man—
clean-shaven,
tangled-thinking smoothed out,
threads of wellness assembled
into a patchworked life.

A poet and a public school teacher, Julie Martin lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with her husband, sons and dogs.Her poetry has appeared in several online journals, most recently Thimble Literary Magazine, Pasque Petals, Dreamers Creative Writing ,Tiny Seed Journal and Tiger Moth Review. She was the 2018 1st place winner of South Dakota State Poetry Contest, landscape division.

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