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BooksOctober 27, 2023

The Friday Poem: ‘hand-me-downs’ by Zia Ravenscroft


A new poem by writer, actor, and zinemaker Zia Ravenscroft.


i’ve got a to-do list with two items on it:
buy new embroidery thread
phone home. i learnt to sew when i was eleven
the first thing i needled together was a pincushion for my mother
the fabric had forget-me-nots on it. some things are like falling off a bike
she played tosca and carmen when she drove me to therapy
she got her love of opera from her mother who got it from her mother
who got it from being french
they’re supposed to be a passionate people.
living for art or love or something treble clef like that
i wouldn’t know. my inheritance is a little more blood eagle
less edmonds sure to rise and more invisible stitch
the family piano was made in 1900, rosewood and real ivory keys
i want to wear thimbles on all my fingers so i don’t have to touch them
i learnt to play when i was six like everyone before me, and
no, i have never had an original thought in my life, thank you so much for asking
my older brother hasn’t had a real conversation with me since i became his younger brother
he has this tradition of carrot cake every year for his birthday
i have this habit of never eating any. i still own a pair of his old slippers
the sheepskin has worn through completely. what this means is very little
my skin is too big for me. i’ll grow into it. i guess
i can’t remember the last time i threaded a sewing machine
the one in our house belonged to my grandmother
it’s going to explode bernina bel canto eventually.
everything is handed down is passed down is second-hand is in the family
i wish i could eat cream cheese icing by the octave but i’m ethically opposed to vegetables in cake
my grandfather used to ride by the river every day but he hasn’t
since the fall. he hasn’t done a lot of things since then
i asked if i could have his bicycle immediately. i think that makes me a bad person
the first thing i did was check the brakes.
i hear a choir of dead elephants singing vissi d’arte when i pump up the tires


The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed.

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