High school sewing

Wincey – but
really – wincey,
a baby word
from a nursery rhyme
is what was doled out
by the metre.

You could make a layette girls
because who would know
when you might need it?
Strange shapes and sizes
dolly small or too big
for some monstrously headed
imagined baby who would divide
heaven from earth and wreck your cunt.
The thought that you might really pop one out
was perhaps too horrific to transfer
to tracing paper.


Portion control is what it was.
Getting ready to get ripped off
in all sorts of ways.
It was practiced in Home Ec too.
Measly sizes from magazine recipes:
toad-in-the-hole and egg-in-the-nest.
Only once when the history teacher
invaded the kitchen
did we get the taste of something else.
Don’t grate the carrots leave the skins on
they’re good for you.
He was curly haired and gap toothed
with the bones of a child.

The one girl in the class
who made real things
had hands that ran
uncontrollably with sweat
and when some other girl
got extolled for her work
(exquisite, just exquisite)
we lost it together

behind the poke-hole frames of our machines
husqvarnas on one side and berninas on the other –
all the man-made borders of that class
– we were banished from Switzerland/Sweden
to the barren quadrangle
where we were still sat on opposite sides
holding flat bellies,
the laughter pain in them
sharp little heralds
of what we might birth later
and clothe in everything
but wincey.

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