Green Hills Literary Lantern

The Seamstress



Her only handiwork displayed at the garage sale

where I’ve stopped on a rainy Saturday morning

is her divorced daughter’s wedding dress,

the lace beaded by this mother of the bride

who will accept any offer to have it gone.


I could tell you this woman’s name,

where she worked for how many years,

where she and her husband spend each winter

because I am a stranger in a yellow raincoat

who knows something about sewing.


So she goes in the house and comes out

with three silk jackets she’s made,

one pieced into unique bands of pattern and color,

another a contest winner that toured the country.

The third, adorned with fabric roses,

gave birth to a matching purse.


I ask where she wears such elegant clothes.

Opera, perhaps? No, she hasn’t worn

any of them: they stay in her closet.

She was proud too of how the dress

transformed her daughter, each bead

catching the light at the altar.

I give her the full price and she plucks

it down off the rafter, covers it with a plastic bag.

The rain has stopped. I’m divorced too.

A young woman I know who has clever hands

plans to get married next autumn.




Joanne Lowery’s poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including Birmingham Poetry Review, Rattle, Slant, Cottonwood, and Poetry East. She lives in Michigan.