Saturday, March 24, 2007

as thin as thread

"you hold the needle between your thumb and forefinger, not too tight, or you'll get tired, not too loose, or your stich'll be bad."

as frail as she was, my grandmother had trouble sleeping during the twilight of her life. it's a strange switch, or contrast, when i'd come home at 4AM a little drunk and she'd be sitting on the floor beside her bed sewing the lord's prayer, the last supper, other bible verses onto tan fabric.

and i can't explain my interest in the things she can't do, shouldn't do, is too weak to do. she can barely smile these days, and her sewing coat hangs from her thin shoulders in a way that hugs her like a dense cloud. but she sews and sews, follows patterns, rips stitches. she never complains about the her sore knuckles, the deep bone-pain that gives her chills and moves up straining her tendons.

"i did these things years ago, before i was married... what was it... 1920? it's something i don't even have to think about doing, i just sew, like it's built in my hands"

built in the hands. rooted in the bones.

she sits at the dining room table as a pot of water boils, smells like lemon grass and pepper, rose, milk and chicken fat. she waits with her hands crossed, waits for us to join her.