How I learned to thread a needle: Poetry by Miriam Weinstein



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How I learned to thread a needle


I don’t remember her teaching me how

to thread a needle.  Yet I see her today —


a basket at her side filled with spools 

of many colors, buttons of many shapes, 


snaps of several sizes.   A length of thread 

in hand, she places it in her mouth to moisten, 


then with her fingers forms it into a perfect 

point she will easily insert into the eye 


of the needle.  She squints, focuses on that almost 

invisible spot, pokes the tread through the needle, 


takes the two loose ends and twists them into a knot.  

Dozens of pins pierce the surface of a cherry-red 


pincushion, packets of binding tape, measuring tape, 

steel-grey pinking shears, and pair of fabric scissors 


crowd into the sewing basket.  I don’t remember 

my Mother teaching me how to thread a needle, how 


to sew on a button, how to hem a skirt, but I watched her 

when I was young.  And I watch, now, as she navigates 


her nineties.  In and out of decades, threads of her life 

form lines unswerving as a ruler’s edge.  







My chapbook, Twenty Ways of Looking, was published by Finishing Line Press last year. My poetry also appears in several anthologies (The Heart of All That Is: Reflections on Home by Holy Cow! Press and Atoms in Our Hands by Shabda Press and A Little Book of Abundance by Red Bird Chapbooks) and journals, most recently, Portages Magazine. 


I completed a two year apprenticeship program in poetry at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis in 2013.


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