Caroline Woodward ≈ Poem



Sewing Machine

I consider his ad for the Singer
Age?  About five, he’d said
Pushing twenty, I know
Cabinet style, heavy old thing, solid
So I fork out seventy-five bucks.

The sad thin man allowed
She was a stripper
Made her own costumes
Stayed in his trailer
When she worked this town.

I didn’t ask if she’d left the life
Or just left him, in any case
She left this sewing machine behind.

For twenty years it begrudged me
Mending jeans, making curtains
Pedestrian tasks with denim, cotton, fleece
but sometimes I heard a breathy voice
“Sequins, more sequins!”

I always had trouble threading the beast
Issues with tension, knots, clumps
Thread looping back on itself
Snapping, the whole thing grinding to a halt, stuck.

Such is life with yet another move to make
& did I mention it was heavy as sin?

I sold it for twenty-five dollars
To a sweet-faced Gitxsan lady
Who always used a Singer
As did her mother before her.
She gave it a pat, sat down for a test drive
& it purred, the happy black & silver beast.

The last time I saw that sewing machine
It was en route to the Gitxsan elder’s apartment
perched in the backseat of a red convertible
driven by her good neighbour, a well-muscled barmaid.

Now I use a portable lightweight
Swiss unit, sleek & white, methodical
Hums for me like a faraway marching band
No personality to speak of, yet.


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