A man among many women,
I sit silent, feeling their eyes
explore my flesh, my stitches.
I need glasses now for delicate
needlework. To thread a needle
the workshop leader has a gadget.
It passes from hand to hand,
ties the perfect quilter’s knot.
My grandpa’s canvas sewing kit,
World War One Vintage, served him
before the mast and in the trenches.
From it, I take a small looped wire.
I remember when I could see and he
could not, hence his need for me
to thread the needle and knot the knot
that he could no longer knot.
Now I choose my tiny patches,
join them, stitch them into a square
and, ironed out, into the quilt.
We must sign them, and I do.
My name and little sayings
in Spanish, Latin, and Welsh.
The leader asks me to translate them
then writes the meanings down.
“Beautiful work,” she tells me.
“Where did you learn to sew?”
I close my eyes, sew my lips tight.
Some secrets I’ll never let go.
Click for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Comment: I wrote this after reading the section entitled Quilt in M. Travis Lane’s book A Tent, a Lantern, An Empty Bowl (Windsor: Palimpsest Press, 2019). Poems that could double as paintings, proclaims the paragraph on the back cover. I have no such talent. My own poem is more of a memoir in the form of a narrative sequence. To each his or her own, or, in the modern parlance, to all their own. And a poet must do what a poet can do, each of us adding our own little offerings to the great sea that is poetry.