Dressmaker at the market

I stop at the dressmaker’s stall
to ask what she does with leftovers.
We discuss bunting – it’s a slow day.
I buy a £10 bag of scraps, swatches,
snippets, interrupted patterns
and borders. The bag taps a morse
of promises against my leg – eyes
outlined in gold thread, dots, dashes,
all the birds of the world in repeated
murmurations and mating dances,
lines of ladders to the moon: promises
as they’re meant to be. They unravel noisily –
metres of cloth anticipating weddings,
funerals, birthdays. My bag of patches
and irregular lines makes do, invents a flag
of no particular country, resurrects a hand
from the place an arm was cut to conduct
more songs of love, redemption, surrender.



Jackie Wills is a poet, prose writer and editor. She has published six collections of poetry – the most recent is A Friable Earth (Arc, 2019.) More here: http://jackiewillspoetry.blogspot.com