Holding it Together
At the cusp between opening and closure,
agents of warmth and dignity,
loosened by rough use or nervous fingering,
lost or found at the bottom of crowded drawers,
shoved into jam jars or pushed to the back of a shelf.
Memories are held in your traces,
myriad, mismatched, piecemeal.
A tiny pale circlet from the cuff that was never mended.
Six etched cedar squares from a haberdasher on the Ile de Paris.
This precious lapis disc with its fourfold perforation
that my grandmother, Gertrude, the tailor’s daughter,
sewed onto the back of my mother’s wedding dress.
Always so poised with her needle and thread,
moistening the wisps with saliva and determination.
Your stars are not the same as mine but sometimes I look up just the same. In the silver-iced north, tucked in from the cold under a bearish sky, you’ll never see this pointilistic beacon for lost explorers and national pride. I make no claims but in the summer season, when heat threads the days, I unfold the house to night air, hoping for sleep. And sometimes, when sleep won’t come, I go out to where the drying grass makes a patch of sky between the trees. And sometimes, looking upwards I think of my grandmother on her porch, its flaky palings and squeaky boards, looking out over the paddocks of cows and oats after the others had gone to bed, waiting for the Cross to rise over a low line of feathered scrub.