MUSED Literary Magazine.
Poetry

Treadle

Martina Reisz Newberry

See these cemeteries
with uncared-for lawns and wild grasses?

I believe the dead here
are pleased at being left alone, finally,

especially the loners and the brooders,
the absentees, like my mother.

The entire world or our small house,
both were way too people-y to suit her.

Her life was a thrall of bedsheets and blankets,
closed eyes and cloistered regrets.

Dedicated only to the pantheon that was
her sewing room, she sighed, wept, endured.

A shy, solemn child myself (an “only”),
she bynamed me Papla and gestured at me

to be quiet even when I said nothing.
I so often said nothing.

Soft-eyed, beautiful, uneasy, I liked thinking
that Mother was a mystic who perhaps found

specks of joy at the sewing machine she worshipped,
but I’ve never been sure. In the end, it all became clear.

She died silently, left me boxes of folded fabrics,
and a few journals filled with the details of her

sad, horrific fears and wishes that her daughter could have
been “one of those who made her mother happy.”