Tonight I Am Mending Clothes

I use old cloth on the knees, stitch boldly.
The dress I hem more carefully
camouflaging the thread, an animal in grass.

I think of Dorcas, the woman raised from the dead
stitching long hours. Her name means gazelle
In Hebrew, Tabitha. She is called "a disciple
full of good works."

I picture her at a window in the day's last light
shoulders gathered around the needle's sharp persistence
Rain falling? Birds gathering red mulberries?
She looks up and smiles. Her hands keep basting
in and out, in and out, Christ have mercy
and a sudden jolt rends her coarse fabric
into a garment of light.

Peter comes from the next town.
They show him tunics and coats Dorcas made.
Feeling the frayed edges where she has been
torn from them, the mourners weep.

The apostle sends them out.
He kneels down and prays.
Speaking to the body he says, "Tabitha, arise!"
and blood leaps through her veins. She stands.

The mourners burst at the seams.
News runs through the city of Joppa--
God mended her! Not one stitch shows!

Betsy Sholl lived in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, when this poem appeared.

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