The Emblem

The Emblem


She sewed her emblem on my shirt

(while I was wearing it)

And it hurt.

She used a single strand of her hair for thread.

(I had seen her use the same strand as a leash for a dragonfly.)

The needle was


As sharp as a needle.

She sewed inexpertly.

Long thimbleless fingers pushing steel

Through the emblem

And the shirt

And my skin

And out of my skin

And through the shirt

And through the emblem

Over and over

I winced at all the u-turns.

When she was done she cinched it with a hard tug.

She had to lean close to cut the thread with her teeth.

(Her hair smelled like wheat and dusk.)

And I wore that shirt.

And time passed.

(On the emblem was stitched her name in gas station cursive. Did I tell you?)

And the sun and the wind and the rain

Turned that shirt into tatters.

A ragged flag of an unknown country.

But the emblem remained, a faded reminder.

Sewn to my chest.

And that was the way it was.

Until eventually

After the passing of a long heave of starless nights

And an effervescence of summer evenings

And  a slumbery of afternoons

And a blearyness of dawns

And after the crossing of many rusting bridges

And way too many elevator rides

And silent taxis

And fluorescent places

The emblem wasn’t there anymore.

(It had fallen away and I hadn’t noticed it.)

But you can still see its oval outline

In the white tracery of scar tissue exactly where

She sewed her emblem on my shirt

(while I was wearing it)

And it hurt.



Miami, Summer, 2010

Also appears in Mipoesias Poetry Journal.



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