She used to keep a tall cabinet with glass doors,
filled with special occasion dresses. Most of them,
she sewed herself. From her I learned bateau and
keyhole neckline, peplum, organdy, linen, voile—
The treadle conveyed the body’s weight, the energy
of the motor to the hand wheel and the presser foot.
The bobbin winder and the spool fed stitches
through the needle plate. Childhoods were made
of buttonholes cut through cloth and edged
by hand, one patient stitch at a time.
Deaths were panels of black, month after month
for a year. White, black, charcoal, grey,
then the range of hues between. Feelings
thick as paint, matte and glossy. Low
ceilings across which the light flickered
tungsten yellow as if through old lace,
gray anvil of days on which the tedium of monsoon
months is hammered. I cannot throw away the smallest
bit of good muslin or truthful strip of leather,
each scrap wanting only to be loved and used again—
In response to small stone (198).