Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, POCKETS, by KAREN SWENSON

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

POCKETS, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: The point of clothes was line
Last Line: To find both hands and pockets empty.
Subject(s): Legacies; Mothers & Daughters; Sewing

The point of clothes was line
a shallow fall of cotton over childish hips
or a coat ruled sharply, shoulder to hem

but that line was marred by hands
and all the most amazing things
that traveled in them to one's pockets
goitering the shape of grace with gifts -

a puffball only slightly burst
five links of watch chain passed secretly in class
a scrap of fur almost as soft as one's own skin.

Offended at my pouching of her Singer stitch
my mother sewed my pockets up
with an overcast tight as her mouth
forbidding all but the line.

I've lived for years in her seams -
falls of fabric smooth as slide rules
my hands exposed and folded from all gifts.

And it is only recently, with raw fingers
which still recall the warmth and texture of presents
that I've plucked out stitches sharp as urchin spines
to find both hands and pockets empty.

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