Once there was a rag

that the farmwife tore up

Before that it was a dress

taking shape on the sewing machine

Before that a woman pinching fabric

between thumb and forefinger

at a country store

imagining herself pretty in it

imagining bodice and waist

a hand on that waist

a dance

a swirl of skirt

and in that pinch

the hope of humanity

and this caught scrap

on this rusted nail

on this splintered sill

the end of it

The wind like a rattle of steel sheet

a sound effect in a melodrama

across the stubble of field



Published in Red Wheelbarrow, Spring 2001: Vol. 2, p. 7. (nominated for Pushcart Prize)