Buttonhole: wound, opening trellised over
with such careful stitches. If the edging
is even and well-spaced, and the knot hidden
from view, the garment is practically knighted.
Tell me about frog closures, keyhole backs,
pin-tucks that seam close and sigh open;
the patient work of the foot, the hours
pressed on the treadle. Romance of voile,
the pragmatism of cotton, the tensile
wisdom of wool and lace. At the mall,
trendy with mirrors and mannequins:
a thousand blemishes sparkle, but
everything is hungry for more.
The eye of a needle is tiny. The threader’s wire hooks a whip of floss and passes it through the door of a wool-gray sky. If I were a camel, would I have known where the fissure lay? The word heather means variegated, shaded off in parts, whimsy not cut out of the same sheen or sheet or cloth. Like how some dreams are stippled and some are plain. Like how some joys are miles and miles of gossamer, unfazed by the idea of seams. I drive past neighborhoods in the afternoons, as children are just starting to walk home from school. Brick houses like rust-colored skeins line the streets, flagstone walks edged by monkey grass. Let me not forget what I’ve always wanted, so hard its edges strain against the remnants of fabric scraps.
On the other side
of the world, a nun ponders rain that is beginningless—
which makes me remember
the first of many games
that women in the family
would play with every new
baby: close, open, close,
open— by turns
the fist is soft as new
paper, then layered flint
cropped from a lunar crater.
When I pried
the orange’s clear
segment from its rind
and mesh of membrane,
a spray of volatile oil
arced into the air.
Loggers clear trees along
the powerline to make way
for a new parking structure
at the mall. You
could not see the shore
from here— fish in nets
a kind of dappled wealth,
even a little change dropped
back into the water.
It’s not his own shadow he looks for
but the shadows of hawks.
He has stirred from hibernation
not to forecast but to inspect
others’ burrows—to scout for mates.
His lust is still containable,
a faint mutter like an underground stream
or a sleepwalker’s obstreperous
small intestine. He serves it
more in faith than in urgency,
a reluctant prophet answering a call,
for he’s exposed to the sky
in a way he isn’t used to:
there’s no grass, no cover,
the meadow has a new, white surface
& the sun too is strange—it gives
no heat. He freezes, wary
as it emerges from its burrow
behind a snowcloud.