A Stitch in Time by Kathamann

A Stitch in Time

In tedium time

  pricked fingertips
      neck aches
      cramping fingers of arthritis
   upper back and shoulder soreness
        eyes refuse to focus

Stitches lost in herstory in leather               silk             wool            cotton
                         alpaca           glass buttons           elm bark                shells
                         beads            flax stalks             felt            feathers
                               pineapple fiber  raffia          quills          linen
                                  hemp             sequins         rawhide         agave leaf
                             coins            coral           silver          gold
                           stone            straw           bark            palm leaf
                              sheepskin        mirror          velvet          jute                 
                                  
Young girls learn to sew but not read or write
                    learn to stay immobile at home
                learn silence with heads down
                    learn crocheting
                             spinning
                             embroidery
                             tatting
                             weaving
            knitting
                             darning

Like spiders stitching a web, women get caught in it.
Their psyches sewn into every stitch to reinforce
their isolation and modesty.  Every stitch holding
together culture to celebrate in finery
                   to remove the ordinary
                  to impress others
              to please the gods
                      to identify tribe and geography

How often do they prick their fingertips on spinning
wheels; and become legend in fairy tales.
 
mantles
blouses
coats
shirts
dresses
tunics
vests
 
Sewing circles and quilting bees;  their humble answer
sanctioned by men folk.  Hours spent stitching vestments
for altars and priests at rites they would never officiate.

manuscript binders
      cushion cover
          tent hangings
                  prayer stone wrapper
                                   hammock
                                        quilt
                                                room divider
                                                       wall hanging
                                                                bed
                                                                       floor covering
                       
                                                                cradle cover
                                                    carrying cloth
                                          curtain
                                blanket
                            towel
                                       pouch
                bag      boot
                              mask    
               

“Women should never learn to sew, and if they do they
shouldn’t admit to it,” says Katherine to her lover in “The
English Patient” by Michael Ondaatji.

               m
                a
                     k      g  
                They would s
                             o      u
                             d      r g e o n s.