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by Erika Michael

Trying to resurrect the true image of my parents, I sought whole cloth
to fashion patterns larger than shadows cast by figures bearing offerings
of life and words that sheared my heart—but in truth found only remnants
which I stitched into a ghost and scarecrow tied with tooth and gut.

My father was a cutter of piece goods stacked in three-inch layers on
a table—my mother sewed the seams on power machines—this I recall:
his severed fingertip and her nail pierced with stitches, stopping
for ten minutes with a bloody curse and bandages the whine and roar—
the mad attempt to piece together lives destroyed by war.


  Cascade: Journal of the Washington Poets Association, No. 1, 2007

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