Patchwork Girl

An aunt of mine makes quilts, for every generation of the family.  When we are young, she shows us ours—the patches for each sibling.  I remember being worried that my brother, newly born, did not have a square.  Worried he had been forgotten in the weaving all together of a family.

I watch the grown ups ooh and ahh over the quilt.  In her grand performance, she unfolds and holds it up before the table.  Incredible, they say.  I think that it looks strange, but I know better than to say so.  That, and I am disappointed when my mother says I cannot take it home.

Later, when I ask my her why it matters, she tells me how it represents the bond in family.  Years go by, and I realize what she really meant is how it represented women.  How it represented all the ways we piece together moments of our lives from all the scraps and bits of fabric left behind.

This aunt, she had no children.  She was a teacher, and so instead she loved the children that were never hers.  She sacrificed her motherhood to stitch fine threads of love that bore a family.  Out there in the night, she gathered up the fragments of the things the world had left behind, and held them to her chest.  Women, the collectors of the broken.  Even without children of her own, she interwove the seams of tight-knit fabric, infusing love in every passing of a needle.

This is the work of women.  We fuse together all the places that have holes, in the hopes that we can fix the anger that keeps tearing it apart.

34 thoughts on “Patchwork Girl

  1. DavidWBerner

    It seems to be innate in the women I’ve known, this natural draw to “fuse together all the places that have holes.” My mother, my wife, my departed sister. My aunt. But it is a man’s lyric, one of the world’s great romantics, that comes to mind.

    “There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” —Leonard Cohen

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So deep, insightful, and beautiful, Shayleene. As always.
    Just love the way you describe your aunt’s quilt: “How it represented all the ways we piece together moments of our lives from all the scraps and bits of fabric left behind.” You reminded me of the poem, “Making Quiltwork,” by Simon Joseph Ortiz, an Acoma Pueblo Native American.
    You can find the poem on my Poetry Corner at

    Liked by 1 person

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