Of Wheel, Loom, and Needle

by Carolin Messier

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Spiraling strands of gifts and burdens

from my mother and father

and their mothers and fathers

and all of my ancestors,

from the beginning of time,

weave the cloth of body and mind.


With calloused fingers

the fibers are spun

of wool, shorn from sheep

who graze free in all seasons,

and of flax, beaten from straw,

harvested from drought-riddled fields.


On this sturdy homespun

with clumsy stitches, life sews

into the double helix of my DNA

a random patchwork of experience

and elegant patterns of emotion

that both adorn and strengthen it.


The most beautiful of these

are embroidered by love and loss

in eyelet, feather, and cross stitches

in brilliant peacock and orchard hues

of silken thread: unraveled cocoon,

fine and delicate,

yet the strongest of all.