The Forest Seamstress

My mother is making my clothes.
I hide behind a screen and trade my shoes for leaf and bark.
I tread more softly.

Brrrch, Brrrch.  She feeds her material through blood and branch.
Brrrch. The birds stop to listen.  I hear the rustle of skin.
A pool of leaves breathes at her feet.

Mother climbs from bark to twig.  She lifts hair from my face,
lets me see.  She tells me to climb.  She wants the stars.  I shake my head.
My mouth is packed with velvet-warm earth.

My mother laughs and rubs my skin with fresh-spun sap.  I am her daughter.
She tugs my gut.  I climb to please her. My intestines wind through bark and bough.
She rips satin ribbons from remnant skies and lines hidden pools; eye deep
and as watchful.  I sense my soul take root.

Some days her belly growls, I run for shelter.  She shakes the ground.
The sky fills with swallows’ purple light.  I hide to find my way back in.
I emerge to fallen leaves.  She smells of age and earth.  When she dies
I become her.  By winter I dress in icy armour.  It keeps my heart soft.

By Jenny Hope

previously published Petrolhead, Oversteps Books, 2010, and in The Fat Damsel.


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