Chances are your choice of words
wasn’t so tame as darn. Chances are: horseshit,
sonuvabitch, christ-on-a-cross, when you discovered
the cow’s side unseamed, spurting where
the barbwire’s infinite awls bored through
her tan-brown hide: the stone of her flesh
rolled back. But you were a woman
of industry. You made do. You returned
with a darning needle and hank of yarn,
stitched the beast right there in the pasture.
I wonder what pierced flesh made you
think of, as your oversized needle zipped
in and out like a dragonfly. Your hair
was blue by the time I’d heard the story.
I respect your strength. I wish, I wish
I’d told you. I’ve heard dragonflies called
the Devil’s Darning Needles. Maybe it’s true—
it makes sense, at least—the only thing
he’d weave is air, which, as you knew,
is impossible to live without.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 36 Number 4, on page 38
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