Volume 12 • Number 2 • Fall - Winter 2020

Gerry Foote

Sewing Safety

Pandemic: Greek pándēmos "of all the people,…”

I’ve broken two needles, bent two,
trying to sew masks to do my part. 
Thankful I have a machine.
All in this together.  

When each friend calls wanting masks, I ask which
fabric: red with gold ladybugs? Marbled purple?
A print with mountains and trees? My son is on the look out
in the corridors and wards for my crazy hippie masks.  

I want to be there in spirit, I say.  I’m not so
conversant with this dusty machine though. How to
set the top tension with a knob, the lower
with a tiny screw, to stitch safety with even  

loops and lines? My mother always handled the tension
for me. In a hurry to sew one more, I don’t stop to oil
the neglected moving parts, I backstitch for the knot,
set the presser foot just so, edge-stitch forward  

steadily, pushing over elastic lumps and side pleats, hopefully,
tension eased to keep the thread from breaking.

Following a 25 year career as a high school teacher, Geraldine currently divides her time between family, peace & justice advocacy work, art and writing. She is creator of the Peace Leaves letter-pressed series of gift poems, many embellished with watercolors and offered at galleries and art shows. Her poems have appeared in The English Journal; Fireweed; Sunrust; The Reed College Exile; Voices; The Oregonian and the anthologies Peace, Peace to the Far, and to the Near; Icarus: One Small Step; Portland Lights, and Inquiry: The Immigrant Experience. Her chapbook Mouth Toward Sky was published by Finishing Line Press in 2018. She helped found the MFA in Writing program at Pacific University. Geraldine is a fourth-generation Oregonian.