Sunday, April 16, 2006

Number 16

Secret Honey

my mother used to sew my clothes
misshapen skirts, shirts with too many
armholes, bathing suits that dissolved in
water and I loved every second of the
making, the hum click slower and faster
of the machine, the needle a big fish
feeding from the bottom
of my mother’s hand, the tiny light
like a glass eye hovering over her fingers

but my favorite part was the beginning
when my mother unfolded the transparent
human-colored paper, removed my shirt
so she could wrap the paper around me
mark space with a pencil
the pattern creaked like a ship resting in port
I held my breath the hair on my arms rising
I was so happy to feel
her hands on me

the woman who tucked herself into the dark
corners of rooms and slept or read
invisible when you called her name
or fell or fainted

my skin as sensitive as the gap
from a missing tooth
I knew if I stirred or sighed
she would remember I was there,
disappear, again

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