Unmended daughter


At last, her window glints
with muted light. The dark
has bound the autumn trees
with sleep. Beneath their stark

arms I wait as she mends
her socks: the mangled seam
ignored for months had torn
too wide. And here, unseen

outside (the cold a sharp
needle, a spur) I shake—
then wreck my childhood door,
its homely wood a fake

boundary, feeble beneath
my boot. Splinters. Inept
pieces stipple the floor,
the hall ahead. I kept

her letters as years crept past.
Tonight those written stitches
will not constrain me. Words,
mother, are scant riches,

unspelled with ease. But how
your face softens within
this stupid dark! Though tears
unmend my will, your thin

needle has already turned
to rust and nicked your wrist.
Words won’t mend the tear
your careless thread has missed.

Ring Fingers