Stitch in Time
After Lucy Larcom’s A New England Girlhood, 1889
A hand moves like a metronome’s music-in-a-box. Fluorescents
hum, headworks drum, handwork piles while clocks run down, mouse lines
run out, but both you and barometers sit still. That squeaking’s no creature cry;
it’s wipers clearing your view (streak-and-rain, streak-and-rain) till you’re hypnotized
and synchronized: no speed ahead, no curves, no shifts. Pop
goes the sky clutch. But no wheels spin. You’re in! — in a god-awful flash of life
in neutral.
Well, blink your eyes. You can’t stand time saved for long. Squint. Show the young tiny things:
pretty leaves shining out and up, lifted beaks, little tasks (little proud things). Count them: Spin.
Dye. Weave, loop around, look sharp, run and stitch running stitch, stitch a run. Work over
rumpled guilt skin. Swaddle it. Bunt it. Face here and there, interface, bind,
snip, tuck, tack, blind stitch — then finally, stitch blind. Fine. Your work’ll pile high.
But you were a needler of proud needlers. Now they might as well cover your face.
Your needle’s stuck.
A girl gazed up at her father and wrote down in her diary:
Life is very tall man.
He wants tiny stitches to cover him.
These will take all my days.
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