Kristine Rae Anderson
Kristine Rae Anderson is author of the chapbook Field of Everlasting (Main Street Rag, 2022).  Her poetry has appeared in American Writers Review, About Place Journal, Copperfield Review, and Reed, among other publications. She has received Tomales Bay and Fishtrap fellowships as well as first place award in the Mary C. Mohr Poetry Contest (Southern Indiana Review). Currently, Kristine lives with her family and three-legged rescue dog in Southern California, where she writes and volunteers as a literacy tutor for children and adults.

Silk Cloth

A gift, my mother said, from a lover.
A fine brocade: The background sea green.
Salmon and silver threads. Some black and brown.
Before my life, before my mother and my father.
Nothing ever came of the cloth.
The fine weave, folded flat and stored in plastic fifty years,
reflecting this late afternoon light.
Here are figures woven in. A woman, it looks like,
offering something. To a man. Her husband? Lover?
Hair wrapped tightly around her head.
Tiny fingers permanent as bones in a desert.
Her dress flows easily, fine drapery covering a lovely window.
I cannot see what’s cupped in her hands.
The man stands on a platform, under a roof,
the roof lipped up and lyrical.
The woman waits outside, below, in the weather.
It must be spring. White cherry blossoms on elegant tree limbs.
The young woman, her present hovering,
arm always outstretched. The man always above her.
Or away. My mother’s lover must have traveled,
unfamiliar lands of ancient colors,
lands, for him, loosed from time or wife.
The fabric a talisman he offered his other.
What moved my mother, one day, to pack away the silk,
wrapped in plastic, sealed in darkness—
a drawer or closet or carton under the bed?
I imagine no final knock on the door,
only images fading in a woman’s mind,
wondering what she might do now,
hands folded on her lap, stitches never taken.
Maybe she watched for his handwriting in the mail,
in the end grew accustomed to the quiet.
When I was sixteen, when this man had long receded,
the purpose of the fabric to my mother dissipated,
she handed me the yards of silk,
told me to make something of it.

 2022 Kristine Rae Anderson
Kristine Rae Anderson was a Featured Poet at the September 2022 Second Sunday Poetry Series