Reincarnation happens here, Mister
Cottonwood. Do not discard any
candidates. All may be re-purposed.
Laura M. Kaminski, “Give Me Your Ravaged, Your Ruined

My grandmother saved every scrap.
She pieced coverlets from the remainders
of the clothes she sewed,
although she hated quilting.
For all I know,
she might have hated sewing.
But the Depression schooled her in the ways
of thrift, lessons that couldn’t be unlearned.

I still have the sock monkey that my mother
sewed for me, although he bleeds
my mother’s old pantyhose that she used
for stuffing. The fabric of his body is too frayed
to be repaired or repurposed.

I keep a box of clothes too worn
to wear and too stained to use
for fabric art. I have no need for dust rags,
since I use the high tech pads that trap
particles with static. I use
the rags to clean up spills or to oil the furniture.

I slide my hand into the sock
and think of a not-too-distant past,
cotton grown in vast fields, seeds separated
out, fibers spun, and then loomed
into cloth. I think of slaves
and industries that rely on them,
human histories woven in our every fiber.

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Kristin Berkey-Abbott has published two chapbooks: Whistling Past the Graveyard (Pudding House Publications) and I Stand Here Shredding Documents (Finishing Line Press). She oversees the department of General Education at the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale and she teaches as an adjunct at both Broward College and City College. She writes regularly about books, creativity, poetry, and modern life at her creativity blog, and she explores a variety of spiritual issues at her theology blog. Her website gives more information about her writing and her academic career.

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