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Poems from In a Sheep's Eye, Darling by Margaret Hasse

The House May Be Burning


But keep writing.


Write by the glow of the windows,


the roof alight


like a red-haired girl,


you in the back yard, safe.


The ladybug’s flown away.


Recall her flit and armored crawl.


To the last breath of summer.


Upon the circular of winter.


The man may have left.


This doesn’t stop


the writing. Between


the pages, a slight blur.


The man may have been old


and ill, or young


who stopped trying 


to be with you.


Ghost days.


You’re swimming across


a deep lake with a soul


you’re making.


You save the swimmer,


the sailor,


the drowned,


the damned


and the beloved.


© Margaret Hasse


In a Sheep’s Eye, Darling, Milkweed Press, 1988


Seamstress


You give me your pants to repair.


You, who haven’t been my lover for a long time.


I had nothing to do with the pants being torn


for it was not from feeding you too much


or too little.  Not for a project on my roof


you sacrificed the seam.  It was not


in the haste of sexual play with me


nor in any way I saw or knew.


What have you been doing these days?


We have so much to talk about:


where these pants went


when I wasn’t with them,


whom they met, where they were washed,


what hour of the night they were taken off


and where they were left when you went to bed.


Here is my hand.  Here is the other.


I take your pants with your body absent from them


and I still repair the rents.


Here is my head bent over the tear,


and the fingers all together in one organization.


The frenzied end of the thread finally


licked into submission,


my eyes thread the needle first,


then the thumb and index follow suit.


I say nothing while I work.  You, too, sit


with mouth pursed as if sewn that way.


My lips are chapped, feel like


the edges of cotton pulled by hand.


I am torn up by happiness at being used.


This is a rip I don’t know how to fix.


© Margaret Hasse


In a Sheep’s Eye, Darling, Milkweed Press, 1988