Letting Down the Hems
Dawn Paul

from the windows
open since July
beach songs on the radio
my mother sits in the shade
letting down hems on jumpers and skirts
for school next week
snipping last year’s threads
to get another inch, a half-inch
sometimes one last fold
hardly wide enough for stitches
last year’s crease and the year before
pale lines sharp as if drawn
with a pencil and ruler
that no amount of ironing can erase
or my finger wetted and pressed
over and over


Dawn Paul is the author of the novels The Country of Loneliness (Marick Press) and Still River (Corvid Press). She recently published stories and poems in the Naugatuck River Review, Apple Valley Review and Valparaiso Fiction Review. She helps organize the annual Massachusetts Poetry Festival in Salem, Massachusetts, and she performs on the Improbable Places Poetry Tour, a project of the Montserrat Writing Studio. She teaches writing and interdisciplinary arts at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts.

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