Sturdy as a bollard, she crouches
beside a tide pool. Lug soles grip rock
slippery with braided ribbons
and air-puffed bulbs of just-flung seaweed.
With the gentle stroke of a mother’s finger
on baby skin, she stirs the cupful of life
caught in the salt crusted rock bowl.
Raises eyes brimming Pacific green.
On her back, snug in the rising wind,
her first-born, late-born daughter sleeps.
Only days from her swim in mother
fluid, the infant cells fill with fresh sea air.
For this pair the swirl of the tide
is hardly distinguished from their heartbeats,
skin drenched with ocean spray, rinsed in
as natural to them as tea by a landlubber’s
Published in California Quarterly, 2002
Afghani woman sits on sand,
legs outstretched. Her backstrap loom
strains from body to tent pole, weaves
a prayer rug in rich red on natural-wool white.
In Japan, a woman soaks then shreds
cocoons. Another spins filaments
finer than spider dreams, destined
for a silk kimono in night blue.
In a jungle stained brown by bombs,
an old Hmong shows a young woman how to snip,
fold, stitch her village tale to a story panel,
primary colors in reverse applique.
On a Caribbean island
a Kuna mother and daughter sit cross-legged,
snip, fold, stitch their orange and red cotton
mola, telling the story of their lives.
American women bend heads over frames,
cut old clothes into intricate shapes,
piece their pink and yellow
flowered histories into quilts.
Needle in fingers,
unbleached linen on my lap,
I knot my story to the threads
of women weaving the world.
a former psychology researcher and
writer/editor, is a three-time Pushcart Prize
nominee. Her work is published in numerous
anthologies, journals, and Internet magazines,
including HazMat Review, Red River Review,
Rattlesnake Review, Phoebe, A Room of Her Own,
The Raintown Review, Ink & Ashes and Ibbetson
Street. Recent chapbooks include Don’t Turn
Away: Poems About Breast Cancer (PWJ
Publishing), Hormone Stew (Snark Publishing) and
Voices on the Land (Rattlesnake Press). Her