This is where I learned the words treadle and bobble, winder and spool; that feed dog is the name of the teeth below the needle plate. To this day, I flinch a little at the menacing sound of hook and eye, but remember how expertly she attached each pair to the two ends of a collar or a waistband's edge. The young and beautiful daughters of our town came to our gate with their glossy fashion magazines; they pointed out skirts and suits and wedding gowns that she could sew for half the price of a ready-to-wear. I never wore jeans until nearly in college; never wore an Oxford shirt that wasn't bespoke. Her hands no longer fly over a panel of fabric or sketch quick lines on pattern paper across the back of a French curve. Someone has spirited her Singer out of her house, maybe sold it at some quick price not equal to its value. When my fingernail traces a poorly made seam from a factory-made piece of clothing, I think of her bent over a zipper; or feeding rayon or silk under the needle. Out of whole cloth, a parsing of parts. Then their joining into a shape meant to perfectly envelope your own.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) was recently appointed Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia (2020-2022). She is Co-Winner of the 2019 Crab Orchard Open Competition in Poetry for Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (Southern Illinois University Press, September 2020). She is the winner of the 2015 Resurgence Prize (UK), the world’s first major award for ecopoetry, selected by former UK poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. She is the author of What is Left of Wings, I Ask (2018 Center for the Book Arts Letterpress Chapbook Prize, selected by former US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey); Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (Kudzu House Press eChapbook selection for Spring 2015), Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (Utah State University Press, 2014 May Swenson Prize), Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, 2014), The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame Press), and nine other books. She is a member of the core faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University which she directed from 2009-2015; she also teaches classes at The Muse Writers’ Center in Norfolk. In 2018, she was the inaugural Glasgow Distinguished Writer in Residence at Washington and Lee University. When she isn’t writing, reading, or teaching, she cooks with her family, knits, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.