Old Sisters Together

folded quilts

Old Sisters Together

Slipping sliding in their stacks
to nestle folds and feathers
Frail whispers float
in sun-warmed air
lacing memories together.

“We’re glad you joined us, Ruby, dear.”
(“Her stitches are gigantic!”)
(“We’ll take them out after she goes,
no need to be so frantic!
You were a beginner once,
and you improved with time.”)
(“What? You picked my stitches out?”)
(“Of course we did, as long ago,
someone picked out mine.”)

folds 3

“These children underneath the frame!
Albert’s bumped his head,
Neal’s mouth is stuffed with butter
but I don’t see any bread!
Annie’s grabbed my thimble —
can’t we send them out to play?”
“No, let them stay, they grow up so fast,
we’ll laugh at this some day.”

folds 2

“Grace, this quilt will look so pretty
when you get to your new home
in Missouri…Texas…Idaho…
and wherever else you roam.”

(“In ’32 they lost the farm,
that was the hardest year.”)
“I’ll trade you purple daisies, Ruth,
for that red I need right here.”

(“Both her boys were called up last month,
and her brother has gone too.”)
“Cora, I’m so glad you’re here,
no one marks as well as you!”

The partings seem so many,
New arrivals all too few.
When troubles strike
and gray times spread
what can “just women” do?

Such hopelessness —
No jobs
The dust
Cold enemies in wait…

Can we ever overcome this?

It’s bound to be too late.


Pull out all the colors
Blend the patterns bold and bright
Swap your scraps and stories
and slowly build the light.
Gather in a circle,
place your stitches next to mine.
We’ll pass on all the love we can,
our hands always intertwined.


I read a writing prompt: “The shadows on your wall are speaking.  Write about the conversation that follows.”*  At my house, the shadows don’t talk, but the textiles are never silent!

And then I read Verónica’s story about how knitting helps her with blue times, and Kerry’s post on what the linens are saying at her house, and we seemed to be on the same page, thinking about how the small touches by ordinary women have meant so much to us through the years.

*The prompt is from A Year of Creative Writing Prompts by Love in Ink