Poetry Issue 15

   Issue #15 : July-December 2011

Kerin Sulock

from Occupations

      The Dyer

      They offered me gloves my first week,
      but I declined.
      I remember reading this is how it’s done.
      In the Renaissance, and before, I mean,
      this is how they did it.
      It’s supposed to be
      hands in the steaming color and
      eyes searching for a turning cloth.

      If it enters the skin then so be it.
      That’s the mark of a trade.
      Indelible and practical, too.
      We are numbered among the dyeing.
      In a dyer’s guild.

      My wife minds, sure.
      It’s hard not to think color stains
      what it touches.
      But it’s mine, you know?
      It’s in me, I mean.
      When we’re home and she sleeps, after worrying,
      I can still see what I work for.

      And this is what separates us:
      Her thinking about the color, and me
      being it.
      Her thinking about the pain, and me
      understanding it.

      Do I worry when I wash them?
      If something lifts in the water
      then what’s tinged is better for it.
      I allow people to wear color in the world.
      And I remind her of this.