Pick-a-Poem: “Needle and Thread”

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Hello and welcome to another installment of “Pick-a-Poem,” where feature a poet and his or her work, which you may not have heard of before. If you’re looking for a built-in poetry break in your day, then you’ve come to the right place. As always, we found this featured poem courtesy of Poetry Daily, which features a new poet and poem each day. This week we feature Needle and Threadby Dorianne Laux.

According to her brief bio on Poetry Daily, Dorianne Laux has written several poetry collections. Her most recent books are The Book of Men (2011) and Facts About the Moon (2007). She also wrote Awake (1990) and Smoke (2000). Her book What We Carry (1994) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She currently teaches poetry in the MFA Program at North Carolina State University.

Needle and Thread, by Dorianne Laux

It was the sixties, and embroidery was back in,
and if you had jeans torn at the knee, an old
denim jacket, a plain white shirt or a cloth
handbag, I might ask you what you liked
then spend hours alone in my room
with your favorite colors, woven threads
luxurious as a young girl’s hair, practicing
the chain stitch, cross stitch, running stitch,
satin stitch across your ripped skirt until
flowers and suns unfurled, a blustery field
of violet iris, a blind yellow meadow or a deep ravine
that scrolled down your back or pants seam,
red ferns blushing your blouse above
a clavicle, daisy chains circling your cuffs.
I’d return your garment on a day you had almost
forgotten about it, baggy T-shirt, ragged shorts,
laid across my arms so the crewel work
shimmered, patchwork of hearts, patina
of wings, like the riven marble draped
beneath Christ’s Pieta, folds catching the light,
offering it up as a sacrifice, asking nothing in return,
though you bowed your head over it and touched it
with your whorled fingertips, the veined leaf
or cresting wave, frothed, feathered, spiders’ webs
and fleur-de-lis, peace signs and scepters and stars,
then looked up into my face like an alien being, you
who I hardly knew.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s featured poem! For more of these posts, click here.

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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