* * *
Last night I finished quilting the border of Claudia's quilt. In the box that Mom sent this week was a very dark brown print, with tiny rust-red and mustard flecks, that picked up two of the main tones in the quilt. Just to be safe, I tried three different fabrics against the border; R agreed that the first one was exactly right. I cut two long strips, 1.5 inches wide, hand-stitched them together on a 45-degree angle, pressed the whole long strip in half on the ironing board, then pressed each half toward the middle. Very hot work on a hot August evening. Wrapped the whole thing tightly around an old Shaker herb tin and clipped it in place. Making quilt binding is not hard but it does need to be precise.
Tonight I trimmed the quilt square ("blocked" it, trimming the sides so they are completely even and square) and stitched on half the binding. I hope to have it done by Sunday afternoon so I can wash it and hang it up to dry between two bath towels out on the line. I promised Mom I'd mail it to her so she could see it first. Then I'll send it on to Claudia, and then I'll post photos. She knows I'm making it but I want the actual quilt (its appearance) to be a surprise.
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While packing (and unpacking) books, I ran across my copy of Edison Dupree's Prosthesis, winner of the 1994 Bluestem Prize. I think I remember buying this book. To my embarrassment, I've never read it. In my defense, it's a slender volume, only 56 pages, quite nicely designed but ghost-pale and easy to lose among the hundreds stacked double-deep on my shelves. (On the publisher's website linked above, the book has a black cover--which is nice--and the same title design, so maybe it's in a second printing; I do hope so.) Here's the first poem I, in good fortune, opened to this afternoon:
Nothing much happens here, inside
this broken hold. Strings of kelp
plait me a green mustache, so fish
don’t know me. They just prowl by,
like-minded in their schools,
working those vulgar gills, and I wonder:
where’s the recovery team?
Everything tight up there? Bad year?
These cycles will reduce us all
to bare bones soon.
But sometimes in my dreams I’ve seen
my savior, in his brilliant metal
helmet. Through the faceplate
I’ve seen him, sucking, like a lamb,
on the long hose that loves him.
His face is kind and dull among
those plump dioxide grapes he labors
musically to expel.
His glove touches the hull,
attaching a crumpled bladder.
He vanishes, jerked upward
like bait reconsidered.
Mind you I’m not complaining.
One simply learns to wait. One takes
this fringed pink anemone
to wife. Her name is Friday.
She’s going to do everything else.
[photo: Atlanta Night (taken from my hotel window at AWP this spring)]
Added note: I should have switched this photo with the Aug 1 one; they would have worked better that way around. Mehh, hindsight . . .