I sniffed the shop’s reek, its textured dust:
satin, gingham, velvet, serge; that whiff
of polished mahogany. The benchmark’s
inlaid inches stitched a golden yard.
The assistant tugged a bolt down, plump,
puffing a pastel cloud. She eased our cloth
through pinching fingers, measuring to
mother’s ask, adding a tuck of slack.
Steel blades rasped, slicing silk.
I hated sewing, loved the words, blazoned
in black-edged gold above the shop-front.
I chanted them in secret, dropped them
like buttons into memory’s glass reliquary:
Green and Valentine. Haberdashery.
Sue Norton has had poems published in various magazines. She lives in York.