SJM ( / )

The Needle

Under the bed, her sewing box.
Near the bottom, a shirt,
Pressed and folded with a patch pinned
Covering an elbow busted out from within.
The shirt long ago had become too small
But somehow it remained
As a memory of something for us all.

In the small cardboard box
The tools of her trade,
Scissor, measure, chalk,
And of course; needles and thread.

And she said, 'Please thread the needle, dear.
My eyes aren't what they use to be.'

Taking the white cotton thread,
Casting off a bit with which to work
Then with scissors trimming the end
So that it could be shaped with wetted fingers.
Until the thread, rolled til the end
Was smooth and tapered round

The chosen needle is held between
The thumb and second finger in such a way
That it could be rotated to catch the light of day
In the needle's eye.

No camel or dromedary need apply
To pass this way.
Instead the thread is brought to bear
And with gentle twisting find its way
Through the eye.

That which emerges from the other side,
Is captured by the index finger
Holding it against the needle
To prevent its escape.

With the other hand, a length is drawn
To equal the amount that will be sewn.
Snip off the allotted thread
And sink the needle into the cushion


It's done and no other words spoken
And even now silence fills the room.

How I wish I could hear,
'Please thread the needle, dear.
My eyes aren't what they use to be.'

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Comments (2)

O yes, Sidi, sounds so much like my prcious mom. Great memory and thanks for pointing me here. Blessings, Loyd
This one struck a chord with me because it is exactly what my mother used to say. I would thread the needles just as you described and then hook them into the curtain to be used later. Those 'laters' never came. A memorable poem for me, Sidi. Thank you. Love, Fran xx