Cloth

by Tess Jolly

She lifts the grey gown from its hook behind the door.
It trails slack from her fingers – a skinned wolf.
Smoothing it flat on the old table, she traces a circle
round the cuff: here’s you scratching your friend’s hand
to a sticky map, here’s the belt biting your back.
Scissors open, she follows the line she’s marked
then unspools a vein to sew the seams together
so no-one remembers what’s been done.

She chooses another part of the wolf-body, avoids
the belly-wound – she’s stitched it up before.
This is the bird you buried to steal its wings,
this is the mouse you dangled from a high window.
She snip snip snips the cloth until these things
no longer happened. Keeping the embroidered logo for last –
here are your ribboned arms, torn gullet, thinning bones
she softly hangs the gown on a night-ajar door.

How sleek the shadows it chases onto walls.
How wide the eyes of each unsleeping child.