Among my mother’s things
I found a neatly folded linen tea towel,
a vestige of finery
with mappings of needlework

Tiny stitches dove in and out
of the tight linen criss-crossings
of warp and weft
with the accuracy
of Olympic swimmers
butterfly, breaststroke,
dolphin kicking their way
around the edges and into
the emblematic central image

An entire miniature world of stitchery
created with a small metal
spear and binding sets of threads
capturing virgin territory under the
command of someone, Anonymous,
with deft hands, unwavering focus
and visionary prowess
all the time knowing
once completed,
surrender to the household was required
for it to become a mere
kitchen accessory

I gaze and wonder if this towel
ever buffed-dry any fine china?
was wrapped around a hot pot of tea?
Or wiped up any spills in a kitchen?
or did it remain untouchable,
wrapped in the very tissue
as it was found
sleeping in its own perfection
a voice never spoken