by Deja Earley

I dream the screaming ladies follow me home,
pushing their carts still packed with Christmas-in-July bargains.
They line up at the foot of my bed,
demanding two yards, sixty-three yards, forty-two centimeters,
an acre of slipping satin, and sixteen inches of leopard print fleece.

I plead my shift is over.
I can't cut fabric in my sleep.
But grandmas keep shoving 40% off coupons under my pillow,
furious I am out of Santa-suit velvet.

Shift to the kitchen table,
and they are all my grandmother,
crunching saltines and drinking milk to unwind.
We snap jokes and giggle over zipper lengths
before I tuck them into their carts,
curled under scratchy batting,
bolts of flannel for pillows.

I tell them I finally forgive them
for being too sick to see my debut
in Hansel and Gretel when I was 10.
I tell them we're moving the patterns
to be close to the notions.
I tell them I will cut again tomorrow.

Then I glide them home through rainy streets
and park them on their doorsteps,
murmuring for drinks of water
and new thimbles.

Deja Earley writes poetry mainly from memories and travel experiences, using her
imagination to make the familiar foreign and the foreign familia1; She will graduate this
August with a Master's in English and will start her PhD in the fall at University of
Southern Mississippi.