They were taut bandages strapped over
patches of bloodied knees skinned on the pavement
out front in the arteries of North Raleigh.
She was always gentle, leather palms warm and soft
between needlepoint and patches.
Through the dandelion summers, I stretch
back and forth down NC 49 to her. She lives in the oaks:
a tender whisper through branches, guiding me. Always reliable.
Today, she makes her home under North Carolina’s thumbnail,
in the cracks of Matthews. Her hands still weave with the same
worn thread, stitching my broken flesh together.
She shakes, now.