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.