Tight white curls bend over
a rectangular table
in the church basement.
Overhead light bounces
silver sparks from needle,
Through the steady hum of voices
fingers knobby with arthritis
dart and pluck and fold.
Pull coils from ancient electric
blankets, throw the tangle away.
Cut the fabric just large enough
to wrap around one homeless body.
From heaps of scraps, one woman
salvages the good bits, piles
them in front of each stitcher.
The quilts grow, random piece
by erratic pattern covering
the cut-off blankets. Finished,
goodies find their way
inside – warm socks, a toothbrush
and paste. Small luxuries
seldom seen on the street.
Shaped in a bedroll,
delivered to the shelter,
out of mind.
The hands are busy
with the next lot.
Once in a great while sharp blue eyes
under a crown of white frizz
spot a strange-looking quilt
rolled across a weary shoulder
This poem first appeared in EDGZ (2000).
Used here with the author’s permission.