Monday, April 04, 2011

Poem: "Black Threads"

Black Threads

Long ago women made threads as today we make our children:
They spun them with the strength of their bodies.
—Loxa Jiménes Lópes, from Incantations: Songs, Spells and Images by Mayan Women

This is also the stuff of legend: a drawer that never ran out of underwear;
buttons and studs torn from shirt cuffs and trousers reattached overnight.

Fabulous until the day mother asked me, strange shy defiance in her voice,
to thread the needle, for her eyes were not as sharp, her hands as steady as

before, meaning the days of yore, meaning the body’s unmistaken sufficiency,
which is also the spirit’s kinship to the instinct of the fast self-spinning spider.

I was never one to do things on my own, nor am I now, nor will be, my love,
though I try to help build the bookcase and clean up the mess after I cooked.

Only in this, in the hours before light, leaving you asleep, wrapped tight, in bed,
when I close the door behind me, and on my laptop throw out wet black threads,

am I most like my mother spinning her life out of the strength of her body,
am I most like my mother, shy and defiant, disavowing the stuff of legends.

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