Wound (Passed Down)

Wound (Passed Down)

My mother didn’t know
the contours of her wound
so had to sculpt mine
by feel
as if she were a blind girl
and I were a piano that she heard
by touch,
only that would have been a deaf girl
and she didn’t honestly
touch much.

At a certain point, I took charge
of my own wound,
but since I also worked by feel at first,
its deepening seemed somewhat haphazard
like the chance radio station
the frequencies always
default to.

It was only as I grew older
when I could see it in the mirror
or when I looked down
at my person
that I became conscious of where
I put in the dirk.



Poem for Margaret Bednar’s lovely quilting challenge on Real Toads.  Not sure this exactly fits but what I have.  The above an image from fabric saved by Margaret.  Process note: dirk is a small knife (probably more properly a small dagger of Scottish Highland origin.)


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12 Comments on “Wound (Passed Down)”

  1. this is outstanding!! wounds are always interesting to say the very least.

  2. Rosemary Nissen-Wade Says:

    Powerful words! You started me thinking about how that process may have played out with my mother (who also didn’t touch much) and me.

  3. Kerry Says:

    I admire the ability to write fro the deepest parts of pain – in my pain my words shrivel to dust. There is something here of the things which pass, both consciously and unconsciously, from one generation to the next, wounds most of all.

  4. I’d say it’s quilted thoughts pieced together nicely

  5. Cloud Walker Says:

    Sometimes expressing your pain it heals it.🌿

  6. Brendan Says:

    The tradition between generations of women in quilting have a dark correlative here, in how mother teaches daughter to hurt — with all the blindness one can articulate. (Love that line about the daughter as the piano she “heard by touch.”–ouch). And there is always the recognition (if one grows up) that whatever wounds were passed on, the capacity to wound is fully one’s own. Amen.

  7. Writing out of pain is powerful. Really well done! I like what Brendan said about your poem and about the ability to change.

  8. This is one of the most profound mother-daughter dynamic poems I’ve ever read. Wow, I wish I’d written this.

  9. lynn__ Says:

    A cathartic, painful but self-aware poem!

  10. Candy Says:

    much to ponder in this

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