Stitching Things Together, 2007

Published at Up the Staircase Quarterly


I: Tracing the pattern

I stab the curved needle
into broken skin
pulling edges together
with blue, nylon sutures

II: Alterations

my father was a tailor
on Haufgass in Zhetl, 1931
running his thumb
over loose threads

after he set the pigeons free
red ribbons tied to their legs on May 1st
he sat in Lushinkes gaol for months
urine poured into his Communist nostrils

my grandfather shared a bottle
of vodka with the guard
and put his son on board the SS Moreton Bay
in 1938, before the storm began

we sacrifice everything for our children
father said as he sewed coats in Melbourne
looking from the window down onto Flinders Lane
as men loaded mannequins into trucks

while Europe blazed and swallowed up
his youth, his love, his life
he basted coat sleeves
and pad-stitched lapels

III: Pressing the Seams

local anaesthetic wears off
the laceration begins to throb
the pain of the body
split open, returns