A Loose Thread

If you sew or write or create anything at all, you'll understand this poem about the need to bring something new into the world and the courage it takes to do that.


by Cathrine Reynolds, a poet of Clinton, NY

I learned about sewing from my mother first

and then Nijinsky, Bakst, Ravel, Karinska.

You don’t sew with a needle or thread.

Anyone can do that

though most people will tell you

even reattaching a button is beyond them.

This is a blatant lie

because I have taught three year olds to do this very thing.

No … sewing isn’t only about stabbing something

a thousand times and it isn’t about

not tangling the thread

although it is very discouraging when that happens

even if you are Edith Head or Balenciaga

just snip and go on.


Sewing is about creation.

Ideas cannot be birthed into this world without a medium.

Creation is the will to pull an idea out of your mind

and put it into someone else’s.

People who are afraid of desire say things like

I can’t … Not even …

without taking the time to feel the flush of being

one step closer to making something from nothing

and you will know these people by the button

missing from their coat.


Because sewing is easy for me

after hundreds of costumes, dozens of dresses,

baby clothes by the pile

my great joy is finding a kindred spirit

who stitches their dreams

with words or wood or the vibration of strings.

Even a dream made from eggs and sugar

is as astounding as a perfectly fitted bodice.

But ah, that button on your coat

sewn with the wrong color thread

in a lumpy X between its four holes

will melt my heart

and make you my best friend.

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