Learning to Spin

for Tammy

No one who loves her, who enters
a room where she sits, can tell her no.
She will teach you how to spin.
Here is the Turkish drop spindle.
Here is the antique wheel.

“Do not be afraid,” she says, holds out
her daughter’s first skein. “Everyone
hates their first attempts,” she grins,
“but they are the best, so sweetly uneven.”
“Yes,” I say, “Imperfectly perfect—wabi sabi.”

Sitting with her, best friend of my girlhood,
our bond unscathed by years or roads or men,
we are suddenly ancient women, a lineage,
drawing out soft fibers with our fingers,
grieving teenage children living out of reach.

Such wool so easy to pull apart when loose,
so strong when stretched and spun,
unbreakable, the two of us make mother yarn,
spool it onto arms of whorls, one under,
two over, giddy, grateful for the art of plying.


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