~ for Anne Marie Marra (June 1953 - March 2009)
You taught me quilting, how to cut the pieces of fabric
just so, the pressing and stitching and pressing, the angles.
Afternoons or mornings spent reveling in colors and patterns
trying to find ones that would be just right for this project,
this comforting lap quilt in memory of a friend who left us,
bereft and full of questions. We found fabrics that seemed
prescient in their design: the brick wall, the timbers, the clocks.
While we worked, we talked, found connections along with
complimentary shades of green, of pinks, and contrasts, too.
We talked of the complications of the heart, nature's wonders,
how we grieved, and wished for Spring. It was a hard winter.
Frozen silences punctuated, and I was too shy to push,
even though my heart told me to. I know better
than to blame myself, but I'll always wonder what if...?
Late winter at the labyrinth, then the fabric store,
after weeks of quiet from you. I couldn't know.
You'd left the quilt unfinished. One day, sometime later,
the pieces were passed on to me, and I, in my grief,
pieced it together, quilted it, bound it, completed it.
Delivered it to its intended recipient. It was hard to part with.
We'd talked about that. We'd dreamed of collaborations.
I'd thought we were talking of the future. But today, as I type
these words, trying not to let tears fall on my keyboard,
I think of the past five years, and how different they might
have been. Now I know why I cling. And tears can't be typed.
I haven't quilted since, though I'm always piecing things together,
words, stories, logs and mortar. I'm older now than you were then.
And yes, I know despair. It's deep and dark and draws eyes to close.
But, there are trees and birds and rocks and streams that need to be seen.