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
Her thinking about the pain, and me
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.