Disparate patches, forgotten fragments.
discarded and left over, folded
in a blue box at the back of the closet:
Eliza’s dress, Franklin’s shirt (ruined
by the bullet hole at Shiloh), gingham
from curtains and tablecloths, red
velvet from a stole, all fashioned
into a covering for decoration, then
warmth, then utility; lining the bottom
of the wagon headed west, protection
against mosquitoes and later Rockies
cold and ice; a corner singed that night
in the desert, the fabric absorbing
the smell of the fire the taste of the flame
the light of the stars and almost a shroud
when the fever came. A mottled collection
of scraps and repaired and ill-repaired and
not repaired pieces but it reads biography,
it reads history, it reads family.
This poem is submitted to the One Word Blog Carnival hosted by Peter Pollock, using “quilts” as the prompt. To see more posts, please visit Peter's site. The links will be live at 10 p.m. Central time tonight.
Photograph: Antique Quilt, via FlosieFloo.com