She sits spindled over
a machine sewing heart-lined
collar after collar
making both ends meet.
Throughout the house her children spread
homemade patterns head to foot to
head to hand, the way she delivered them:
six shining shapes in nine hurried years.
An economy of clothes, they wear
one another, breaking
in, creasing the folds in a
fabric they weave together.
The baby boy threads and twists, twining a whine
through her thighs. Rodriga jams the needle,
stitching a scream. Into the seam of her lips,
the sewing mother sighs as another day unravels.
(previously published in the Wilshire Review 2000)