Coraggio, the mother told her daughter. If you travel with the proper sharpness of angle, you will dance across the most perilous crevice.
Who weaves a needle knows the violence of mending. With the right slant, the hand finds a way, a rhythm. All mad repetition creates pattern in motion, anatomy of memory. The tearing and pulling taut, piercing and binding.
Wrist turns and needle winks as the thread connects across the quarter-inch fold, anchors past tense to present continuous.
On the other side, all mending is hidden. The fabric appears whole as though nothing were ever separate or broken. If you stare long enough, you begin to believe.
Is the woven always holy?
A woman lifts her lover’s shirt. Across his chest, she moves her finger to it, touches the edges. Its stitched lips live between what is healed and what will never heal. When she draws her finger from it, threads shrink and rest. Still and resilient. This skin.
Originally published in California Quarterly, Volume 33, Number 3