Star Quilt, and Starfish Sent from a Distant Place, Balanced Against Window Glass

by Debra Nystrom

Thin as a needle, my need, like my work, piercing through
fabric ripples, gathering stitch after stitch until
thimble turns it back at the pattern’s curve, hardly a new
direction. I’ve understood well enough the dull

shore I was ferried to, no thought
of rowing further. Now these tiny stippled tentacles stir
up puzzlement, like gazing through ice to life underwater,
a vague shifting, not quite frozen though. Little alien listening for the murmur

geese following in spring, as if you know that river currents call to sky
and tell which way the ones gone already have traveled out of sight—
no, there’s nothing to hear. Strange hand out of your element, don’t whisper try
noticing clouds pent up and opening
, as if they might

sift promise of some sea I can’t believe in—wisp of snowmelt, dropped stitch,
caught breath, something beyond this.

Published on August 25, 2015