Friday, June 5, 2009

To Mend or Not to Mend

I want to repair a shirt, not a relationship. I want to sew on a button.

I keep a box three inches deep in buttons of every color and shape. I also own a basket of sewing notions. Both are a quiet comfort to me.

Instead of meditating, instead of looking for the right poem, instead of throwing the Tarot, instead of calling the wise counselor I should just reach into my sewing basket and pick up my pin cushion. Little Chinese guys clinging to a soft life raft. Feel the needles and pins blunted against my palm.

As a little girl I loved my mom’s Chinese life raft pin cushion. Now I’m grown up and I own two of them. I think I’ll remove one from my basket and set it on my altar. Take away the Buddha and Ganesh and Tara. Take away the shells and stones and the soft felt hearts my boys have sewn over the years. Replace it all with the little pin cushion men. I can hold them in my hand when I need to cry. I can put them to my ear when I need a kind word.

Give me time to embroider, to make tiny x’s in cotton chambray. Let me hold a needle and thread, and feel the silver sliver tap against the metal thimble. Or the wooden thimble. I have both kinds. I’m so well stocked.

I have embroidery thread in every color, and patterns to make, and seams to finish, and hems to let out. But I’m in no mood for mending. Just let me play with my needle. Or let me lie down. Take a nap. Or watch that hawk in the tree. Or have another glass of wine. Watch the Marx Brothers. See the sun make a patch on the wall. No piece work, please.


  1. Would that all our accomplishments could come from a meditative moment with our muse, whatever form that might take. Deep down I think I feel that every time I get away to play. "No piece work, please." Yes, that's it, very good...

  2. relationships degenerate and eventually dissolve if left untended, unlike that taciturn mending pile...hate that.

  3. Aren't we all hanging on to dear life on some sort of raft?