A Dedication to Clever Fingers

A Dedication to Clever Fingers

My mother had very clever fingers.
Our family tree’s leafy with cleverness.
They made things. Lots of useful things.
They know stuff. Lots of useful stuff.
my sister with her pink alabaster skin
says our Grandma told her a secret —
don’t soap your face; use mineral oil.
I used soap, and when I smile, I look
like the bark on our family tree.
my clever mother would unpick stitches
in an old shirt, make up a pattern
from a sheet of newspaper, and sew
up a new dress before I could ask
”Mum, isn’t it time for lunch yet?”
in 3rd grade, I was wearing my dad’s
postman’s shirt, recycled into a skirt
tightly gathered with deep pockets.
Now, people want penny-cheap clothes,
they wear them a few times, and then
throw them away like Kleenex.
my dad made my first proper bed
from our cherry tree that fell after
lightning struck it. My eldest son
inherited it from me, and his son
inherited from him. There’s history
in continuation. Timeless continuity.
when winter comes home to rule,
I’ll be wearing my mother’s
favourite blue handmade sweater
with its flurry of snowflakes
stretching across the shoulders.

She had very clever fingers.


for b. ©️ Misky 2019

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