Words

By Emma Neale

objects of Inspiration

Mend

Words by Emma Neale

As I sew a button
to my old winter coat

stitch, stretch, stitch, stretch

I think of my grandmother’s
mortified delight
should she have seen me
mending a hem:

stitch, stretch, stitch, stretch

to pull the thread taut
well over your head:

it’s a trollope’s skill
a slattern’s tack

stitch, stretch, stitch, stretch

try: it feels lovely loose
lithe unleashed

see the air’s slow pressure
cup and weigh the breast
confess the skin’s intimate self-kiss

stitch, stretch, stitch, stretch

like a kid so full of the answer
you’re fit to bust with it,

a Russian claiming space-rock
or a mountain summit,

a medallist swimming freestyle
winning a fast heat,

a blue stocking hailing a cab
you’ll pay for
with you own hard won cash:

reaching for a larger self
as you fling your hand higher,

you’re a statuesque Liberty
with tiny silver javelin,
a miniature, dreaming spire.

Words by Emma Neale

Emma Neale is the author of three collections of poetry and five novels, the most recent of which is Fosterling (Auckland: Vintage, Random House, 2011). Her poetry manuscript, The Truth Garden, won the Kathleen Grattan Award for Poetry in 2011, and is due out from the Otago University Press in 2012. She is currently Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago.

Primary Sources