Trying to resurrect the true image of my parents, I sought whole cloth
to fashion patterns larger than shadows cast by figures bearing offerings
of life and words that sheared my heart — but in truth found only remnants
which I stitched into a ghost and scarecrow tied with tooth and gut.
My father was a cutter of piece goods stacked in three-inch layers on
a table — my mother sewed the seams on power machines — this I recall:
his severed fingertip and her nail pierced with stitches, stopping
for ten minutes with a bloody curse and bandages the whine and roar —
the mad attempt to piece together lives destroyed by war.
“Needletrades” is reprinted from Cascade: Journal Of The Northwest Poets Association.
Erika Michael is an art historian, painter and poet, born in Vienna, raised in New York, and living in the Seattle area since 1966. Her poems have appeared in Poetica Magazine, Cascade: Journal Of The Northwest Poets Association, Drash: Northwest Mosaic, and in Mizmor l’David Anthology, Vol. I, The Shoah. She has a PhD in Art History from the University of Washington and has taught at Trinity University in San Antonio; Oregon State University; and University of Puget Sound. She reads her poetry at various venues around the Northwest.