And then there was the time
in which she cut off everything
and I don’t mean hair or carrot tops or
anything attached to another–
except herself, that is,
to him.

She tried to keep most of it pictorial–
the severed hands, breast, sex,
falling in still motion from her body
on the painted page, blood spurting
in wavy red lines that looked
like the symbol of sonar, except drawn
with her most delicate brush.

In real life, such as it was,
what she sliced was the time it took
to cross a street, to turn
a corner, to board a train,
darting in front of the bright swipes of everything
as if metal too
were insubstantial.

I don’t want to detail what he said
that woke her, only that it felt
unkind, the words
a cudgel.

Still, the blow somehow showed
the triviality of her scalpel,
the histrionic goofiness
of assumed amputation,
and the true dangers
of crossing busy streets.

And in the ache of the shockwave,
she began to re-member herself–

She heard in the rattle of old pipes
her grandmother’s tanned hands
checking in the oven a pan
of cinnamon rolls, ones she herself
had twirled.

In the glare of roof/window,
saw the grin of her father
over his paperback
against the fridge blue walls of the
doctor’s office as he waited with her,
as he always did, for her
weekly allergy shot,
after a long drive.

Her mother’s lap was in the front seat
of another car trip, making those perfectly
symmetrical sandwiches she managed, even at 65 miles
per hour;

while she herself jumped up and down,
on her childhood’s green sofa,
ecstatic in the terror of winged monkeys,
especially since she knew,
from annual viewings, that Dorothy would
be victorious, but through
no fault of her own.

I speak in flashes, as if it happened
fast, but the stitching
took some time.  The needle hurt,
perforating, the thread pulled,
and the seams caught and ridged,
even when she used
her most delicate brush.

Here’s a poem – yes, I will call it a draft poem (sorry – but I always feel like they are drafts when I’m still working on them and I’ve edited this one even after posting  for my prompt on dVerse Poets Pub about remembering.  Check out all the wonderful poets at dVerse.

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38 Comments on “Sewn”

  1. […] to dversepub where karin is prompting us to […]

  2. This speaks to me on many levels – healing poem indeed. Exceptional. This line resonated very much,

    “And in the ache of the shockwave,
    she began to re-member herself–”

  3. shanyns Says:

    Wow…what a powerful poem you’ve stitched up here…can almost feel the pain of the needle and the pull of the thread.

  4. janehewey Says:

    Warm continuity and steady movement in this poem rivets me. I love the textures: pipes, tanned hands, cinnamon rolls –just gorgeous. Re-membering becomes something I want for your character and her childhood’s green sofa. Lovely, karin.

  5. Affecting work drawn with the details that turn memories into striking imagery. The atmosphere was haunting yet hopeful. Beautiful.

  6. brian miller Says:

    nice slow down there in the end….acknowledging the flashes but that it took time…i am glad it woke her up…not that it had to feel like a cusgel but i am glad she remembered herself you know…and chased that…so vivid an opening k

  7. Laurie Kolp Says:

    We do find comfort in nostalgic childhood memories after a breakup. I love all your vivid and striking images. I find the last stanza beautifully perplexing.

  8. Ruth Says:

    I like re-membering – hadn’t ever thought of it the word that way, but it seems a healing thing to do for one’s self – especially after the sort of horrible dismembering that occurred earlier in the poem (even if metaphorical)

  9. This is a fabulous write, which I loved reading….especially as the narrator begins to remember herSelf as the poem continues…….love the memories that ground her.

  10. howanxious Says:

    Talking about flashes, they can act as a healer. I am glad that is what happens with the narrator here.
    I found a personal sentiment in the creation. The tone is such that you almost cringe away as you are reading it but you want to complete savoring the words.
    Quite a sentimental read for me… so well-written.

  11. vandana Says:

    Very intricate descritoion

  12. claudia Says:

    heck…intense emotions k. – the cutting and sewing…the healing process… loved the details you give us – esp. the one with in the rattling of the pipes hearing her gramma’s hands checking the cinnamon rolls

  13. kkkkaty1 Says:

    “…what she sliced was the time it took”…..such a slice of life…excellent write, K; very moving and intense emotions.

  14. ramblingsfromamum Says:

    that sent a few shivers up my spine – beautifully penned K.

  15. This is intense… and really I love how memoies can be a cussion when life is difficult… Just like they can be a burden even in happiness… Thinking about the refuges that are coming out of conflict areas into Sweden… I think it can work both ways

  16. Amazing work K ~ From the cutting off from his unkind words, the gradual remembering of her growing up and happy years ~ The stitching at the end spoke to me, time to heal and get over some difficult times ~ A gem to read this morning ~

  17. hedgewitch Says:

    The first thing that came to my mind reading this was crazy quilting, despite the blood(though I believe quilting is a demanding and painful art) and dis-(re)memberings. Each image is a different scrap of a different cloth, thoughtfully or just instinctively placed in the pattern, somehow, as in the best gardens, each distinct, standalone yet complimenting the other, making a whole where they all merge. And of course, that is often what we do with words–here it just seems more deliberate, perfected, even as it falls softly, shapelessly and eloquently on a maternal lap to table sandwich materials. Really liked this, k, both as a slideshow of memories, and a blanket for the mind.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks – later I thought of different images to use that were more specific to various limbs, but in trying to get the whole thing done, I decided to just stick with the first ones. (I may revisit the other jottings though as they made a more logical sense.) Even these were a bit hard to keep down – I am always leery of going on too long so cut them a fair amount – a balance between losing vividness and dragging on – went back in and added to one–always a hard balance for me. k.

  18. She remembered herself … that is the turning point, when the healing begins. Vivid imagery and memories, filled with raw emotion. And thank you for an inspiring prompt and your kind comment on my poem. 🙂

  19. Ella Says:

    Yes, a very healing journey! We are more like the scarecrow than
    Dorothy. We constantly have to alter, restitch our mood, re stuff our intentions before we can carry on. Off to find the gold in my day-I enjoyed all of the emotion and scenery you shared! I hope you can stitch some gold into yours~

  20. Myrna Says:

    I guess I would make a terrible editor ’cause this seems perfect to me. It’s so good, so complete. I feel I know this woman, her breaking, and sewing back together. Maybe that’s all of us when we recover from heart break. Beautifully done.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha! Thanks, Myrna. I sometimes edit things not FOR submission but TO submission in that I am capable of making them worse and worse. (Though admittedly, I also do some useful editing.) I actually like editing but it’s always a hard process. Thanks for your kind words, and your own poem. k.

  21. Strong opening then it winds and builds and the closing ((sigh)) the perfect pitch. You know just where to strike a blow and where to be make the most with the slightest touch. As others have said the combination of flashes and the metaphor are sewn beautifully.

  22. Akila Says:

    memories finding place in sub-conscious! surreal…loved the effects of the stitching here as if gathering fragments!

  23. Margaret Says:

    The horror of the beginning is more than made up for by the memories of her grandmother, father, mother that draw her back…

  24. “And in the ache of the shockwave,
    she began to re-member herself–”

    That line is going to stay with me a very long time. You’re such a great poet. Drafts they may be, but what power they have.

    Greetings from London.

  25. I had to read this piece twice to re-enjoy it. My favorite stanza is the second one. Its two last verses add delicious detail. I like that the poem ends with a reference to the brush.

  26. I like this although it seems a little harsh. I suppose we all do harsh in one way or another…or sometimes harsh does us. I’m not sure if Dorothy was victorious…she ended up right back where she started from

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Good point! My point here was that she was successful against the witch in a manner that was by her own hand but was also unwitting or without malice. Victorious may not be the right word. Valiant? Will have to think about it.

      It is a very harsh poem, you are right.

  27. grapeling Says:

    K, I spent the weekend busy so didn’t have time to pen a post for your challenge – my apologies, this has been a great round of posts.

    This is brilliant:

    “And in the ache of the shockwave,
    she began to re-member herself–”

    Cheers on imagining a powerful write for your equally powerful Pub hosting ~ M

  28. […] late for ManicDdaily‘s Try To Remember prompt at dVerse, but oh […]

  29. Imelda Says:

    This is riveting. Beautiful writing here.

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