Schneider

We had nothing but rags
Bags of old costumes
Piled in the corner
Of a dusty room
Discarded scraps
Of forgotten dreams
So I taught myself to sew
Building a tapestry
Of my patchwork life
Knees folded on the
Chilly bathroom floor
Its cracked blue lino
Like ocean waves
The tattered curtain
Tucked up over the rail
Learning to navigate
By feel and intuition
As I frowned
Squinting at my needle
Trying to get the thread
Through a tiny hole
In the mushroom-coloured dusk
At the awkward age
Of thirteen years and one month
I wore them out
My colourful creations
And people stared
Admiring and mocking
In equal amounts
When I grew
Good enough
That you could see
Design in my skilful
Manipulation
Of throw-away stuffs
I sold some
For coin, or bartered favours
Tailors can be born
And they can be made
I took commissions
If you could describe it
The perfect dress
I could draw it in my head
Then threading your dream
Through my careful fingers
Seam by seam
I could make it
Come alive

My Big Toe

Last time I stayed in hospital
I felt like such a fraud
It never would have happened
If I’d not been feeling bored

I took out my best needles
To try to string some beads
But dropped the thread under the bed
And crawling on my knees

Wasted almost half an hour
In a wholly futile search
To find the reel with only feel
Was never going to work

But giving up too hastily
In retrospect was worse
I shuffled back and heard a crack
Then hopped to muffled curse

For I’d stood upon the cushion
In which I kept my pins
The x-ray showed my poor big toe
Joint skewered, for my sins

They pulled it out with pliers
Having made my foot go numb
I hope that was the last time
I do something quite so dumb