Gail Dendy - 2011-09-02
The duvet has the brown stain
of cat’s paw, of general outside spaces
brought inside along with a dead bird, perhaps,
or with a brush of pine that bilked
when the cat ran under it. Through rain
and fifteen years’ light drizzle the duvet
held up squarely against home-cooked brownies
and our children’s finger paint. And later,
fluffed and white once more, its swiss-roll
shape bunched into the cupboard, it was
forgotten unless friends would come to stay.
It was a simple thing, mere gingham and little patches,
a parent’s gift handmade but fitting ill,
and always my grandma’s warning
that the stitches must be even, and that the knots
should seem to disappear even as you see them.
I’m no good at knots, Grandmother,
and my stitches are wild and loose
as snow-white geese in flight. And he’s gone, Grandma,
do you understand? And there’s nothing anyone can do.
So I take up my needle, Grandma,
spear it down into the heart of the duvet,
watch the bloodstain of those fifteen years
spreading out beneath my fingers.