Smiling Quilt
by Ambika Talwar

Surely there is a poem here where no fear can hide
each square a set of them, faces in the wilderness
of time's silent narratives. Listen to river passing by.
Out the window icicles hang glistening presence
smiling as if only comfort held their songs in place.

Surely poems pick us when we least expect it –
stars take their place in the sky when you wrap
your aching shoulders with a hand-stitched quilt as
in olden days, when grandmothers smiled to the hilt
as secrets were born and worn to be remembered.

Surely, there is a square for mother, grandmother,
father. Those hidden romances peer this moment.
Did you lose them? The child who escaped a stitch.
Your freezing on a cold shoulder, knee-deep blues,
awakening fresh-eyed hungry to gaze at life’s colors.

It’s all your choosing. How grand is an arrangement
of life’s wisdoms when they flow unhurried under
basements where boxes, old toys remind how not
to be hungry but sated. How we are feted in beauty
when hair crinkles to greys, smiles fill wizened eyes.

Nothing else matters – nothing else can. River runs
through your veins; your fingers have done their best.

(Quilt designed by Sharmagne Leland-St. John)

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