Sara Jean Lane

Quilt Facing

The hardest thing about making a human is the calluses�
fitting the heels to thicken before they fray.
Once armored, the footsteps should bind
themselves, unlike paws, to any and every
external rhythm.
But that�s not what makes the dog,
the article said: his fur still clings
to your back, to walk with you.
The quilt edges are camouflaged now atop their folds, beneath
the woman�s elbows, and somewhere two plates shatter together,
leaving no distinction between their mingled shards. The man folds
his newspaper against the bench to explain
that culture is only found in its translation, that his dinner
wasn�t called spicy until he moved, and he asks
how I would explain waiting rooms
in an alien language. The lights kept these walls
from ever looking cleanly white. Beneath them, I could be
a walking history of scrimshaw
and never know�a treatise on the difference
between Bach�s organic music and the recording
of it, or a mirroring of my mother folding her ankles
atop an empty kitchen chair, or instructions: To paint
a broken mirror, move three steps to the left
at irregular intervals. To lose a name, forget the day
of its first pronouncement.
Or I could hold patched reflections
on the building of our organs, only cold behind
the gray hospital doors, and of penciled fingers, not unlike claws,
forming slowly now on a child�s cleanest paper.
Until they read these bones, though, we go on
digging at our borders, toeing the spaces
in a neighboring fence, and we hum
the things we can�t spell. A bruise will make
blood black, a new color noun, and the man asks why
we don�t measure feet in steps.

SARA JEAN LANE is a musician and composer and currently attends Judson College, where she studies music, English, and mathematics. She is sixteen years old.

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