In the poem, which originally appears in Bear Review, Vol. 5, Issue 2, the listener looks back with Macri, a “mother heavy with all she remembers”, onto her childhood. We follow her steady, descriptive lines into her past, as if on the projector beam of her inner-child’s voice, to view again her mother’s clothing workshop, a sanctum her mother might have shared. We find there, as we have in every constructed world, a material order, understood equipmentally by her mother and other professionals in her community, one that set rules and limits for the daughter Macri was; and the child could only transcend, we sense Macri realizing in the present of her poem, this order of things and how they have unspooled and tangled in her imagination. Later in the poem, of course, we understand the girl has not only become an adult who parents herself, in charge not only of her own domestic spaces, but she has also become a poet who works with language and time, unstitching and making alterations, with craft and materials for verse as a set of tools, threads and fabrics at hand.
You can probably sense what I find most fascinating about this poem: the recovered emotional content we discover alongside Macri, and how neatly she underpins it to objects, concrete nouns correlating the child’s imagination to objects remembered in this hyper-adult and appealing domain of her mother’s. From sentences such as “Have you been in here / again without my permission? / Have you touched my scissors?” we can sense the formation of Macri’s imagination had been cast like a shadow from her exploration of her mother’s concrete, precise, orderly and measured world. And we can sense the girl’s strong will, the tools of her imagination, as it survived her mother’s strictures and guilting questions, became in the mind of the poet a ray of light no adult could cut away.