Somewhere in Michigan,
my grandmother is dying. I’m learning
to sew again. I pull the thread
through the needle’s eye and begin
to bring two pieces of cloth together.
You don’t have to come home,
my sister said. My stitching is loopy
and uneven. She’s already gone. I don’t need
to make a pretty thing, I only need
to close an opening.
My grandmother was not
a woman who sewed. She was a woman
of tiny porcelain birds. Birds
of glass. Birds painted red
and blue. They lined the shelves
of her apartment. Everything
in that place ready to fly.
Even a cherry branch carved
with the likeness of a hummingbird.
And a picture on the wall
that my sister and I colored
as children: three larks in a meadow,
the sky behind them golden
like we thought we could draw
something holy. I hold my first
row of stitches up to the light.
I don’t know what I’m making,
but I know I want to give it form
and weight. I want to fill it
with something clean. I want
to keep it close to me.
Photo by Sarah Jane Brand