Luisa A. Igloria

Meditation on a Seam

Nights were salted with the pock-
           and-punch-punch-punch of sewing
                     needles on cloth, the crease and rustle
of pattern paper outlining arms
           and bodices of other women who’d wear
                     ​the clothes these sisters made,
my mothers both: she who birthed, and she
           who raised me. Once I woke to a startling sight—
                     they’d hung a wedding dress
from the top of the doorway’s frame
           and knelt on the floor with pins
                     in their mouths, working round the hem.
Behind them, a window lightened and colored
           with wings and crowing. Bread rose
                     like the sun and hardened by noon. I carved
a path through skins of lima beans
           and grains of rice into the world. They’ve taught me
                     how all things in time will turn and pleat
and how one length of cloth might gather all things in
           or flutter free. In the dark, because of them I find
                     lost prayers in the tiny edging around buttonholes
in store-bought shirts. Because of them
           I never sweep the gathered dust and tears
                     of days, outdoors into the rain.




“Meditation on a Seam” first appearance in Narrative Backstage, Narrative Magazine, March 2010.