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This poem is taken from PN Review 256, Volume 47 Number 2, November - December 2020.

Hem and Other Poems Genevieve Stevens

How long has it been like this?
For a moment I didn’t know
if she meant the skirt or my life.
But as she then cleared space to lay flat
the hem, her hands existing only
for that bit of fallen fold,
well –
I put the answer away.

We grew silent.
Me appalled by the everything almost said
out loud
or perhaps it’s all been heard
in other rooms, older houses

And the longer I sat watching her,
the more I became grateful for the hem –
for its sudden, simple undoing,
for her – always
knowing which stitch is best,
grateful too for that pristine exchange –

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