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Tying Quilts: A Poem by Doris Lueth Stengel

They needed me
When they got to the middle.
Short armed women
who could not reach over the frame.
Crouched in semi-darkness
under the flannel backing
I pushed the needle back up
after its downward plunge.
In a world stitched
with monotonous repetition
I dreamed of playgrounds
of hopscotch chalked on sidewalks
with broken bottle markers,
of paper dolls and stickball games
going on without me.
But
sometimes they forgot that I was there
under the multi-colored patches.
Words of private, puzzling matters
fell through threads for my unraveling,
until some movement or sound reminded
them of my wide-eared presence.
Their conversation suddenly converted
into guttural German words,
only names now recognizable,
but the click of tongues and scissors' snip
projected pictures of peril and great passions
on the black screen above my head,
while my mother and grandmother
tied together the pieces of our town.

- Doris Lueth Stengel