Quiltmaker’s Curse

At every meeting she’d whip out
a few new art quilts from her bag.
On one, the shimmer of scales on trout—
“I made that yesterday,” she bragged.

Dumbfounded, we would all applaud.
Then we’d take turns to show our things,
perhaps unfinished, likely flawed.
But she’d leave early, on the wing.

That star of our monthly quilting group
let fly, one day, her offhand quip.
I won’t forgive her, can’t recoup
my punctured pride since she let slip,

“Except for one, your quilts are boring.”
(I hadn’t asked for her opinion!)
For her I’ll stitch these lines, exploring
a malefic end to her dominion.

With widening eyes, may she gaze
upon her gloried fabric stash
now dulling into sooty grays.
May spools of thread shiver and crash,

bounce on her hardwood studio floor.
Let her fall, the art quilt queen,
bruised and shaken to the core.
She’ll whimper, limp to her machine

and yank the fabric through her damned
and newly-blighted, high-end Pfaff.
May the threads now tangle and jam,
the needle repeatedly break in half,

the tensions always be at odds,
and may that little light burn out.
The dazed and dimming star now plods
and paws for pins. Let her shout

as points are piercing, fingers shredded.
“Bloody hell!” I hear her shrieking
when smears and spots of indelible red
deface her deft, impeccable piecing.

But then she’ll squint perceptive eyes
and call it something apropos,
like “Pygmy Mammoth Screams and Cries,”
and enter the next Quilt National show.

Again, she’ll pass the judges’ muster.
“So primal, so impassioned!” they’ll gush,
around her work in drop-jawed cluster.
Bloodstains draw a reverent hush.

But she’s not there for accolades.
This quilting star has fallen, fetal,
on her floor, where she now fades
in a fatal infection from her needle.

White Anglo-Saxon Protestant the ABCs of loss