She rests on her grandmother’s quilt,
the Spring air cool, but sun warming €”healing
She, face turned to the sun,
is thinking back on the line of mothers
who gave her being and body . . . She thinks about
an Eve, way back . . .
Out of some Cambrian longing
her distant grandmother emerged
hard shelled, many limbed,
singular in purpose, only a
crustacean of sorts, but a
crustacean on its way somewhere.
What a piece of work, this creature.
There would be many cuts,
restitchings, corrections, additions,
before her story appeared leaping
onto this wet fabric, around this sun, in this
neighborhood of stars,
in this galaxy, in this cluster, in this universe,
in this multiverse, in this embedding,
in this quilt.
She is a small thing compared to a star,
attached to eternity
by only a pineal of complexity €”maybe
netting consciousness from some other
place. Is she some eternal piecework or
does she arise like her
new and shining from lesser things?
On this day, she notices that
a far more distant
relation has shed an apple
leaf, which spirals
downward with grace.
She, saturated in connections, turning
over, leans off the quilt
and breaths in the scent of fragrant
face first, she smells existence
in the loam, and feels some of
wrapping its arms around her and whispering
sentences that that grandmother knew and
passed on to this mammal woman,
her child’s child and so on.
Mothers running backwards, for eons.
This patchwork on which she lies
is of certain origins, and
she can wrap herself in its squares
and enjoy its warmth and the mercy of
the long chain of its history and
Steve Peck is an ecologist at Brigham Young University. He has a novel soon to be published, The Scholar of Moab, by Torrey House Press. Other creative works include a novel: The Gift of the King’s Jeweler (2003 Covenant Communications); a self-published novella A Short Stay in Hell (reviewed here and here), a short science fiction story: The Flaw in the Lord Harrington Scenario, published in HMS Beagle (online journal by Elsevier); poetry in Dialogue, Bellowing Ark, BYU Studies, Irreantum, Red Rock Review, Glyphs III, Pedestal Magazine, Tales of the Talisman (nominated for the Rhysling Award), Victorian Violet, and a chapbook of poetry published by the American Tolkien Society called Flyfishing in Middle Earth. Steve blogs at bycommonconsent.com and has a faith/science blog called The Mormon Organon.
For more of Steve’s writing published on WIZ, go here, here, here, here, and here.
3 thoughts on “A Patchwork by Steven L. Peck”
This poem intrigued me because of the mix of mythologies–creation theory (eve, the apple tree) and evolution (the depiction of her grandmother as a creature that evolved… an arthropod.)
I loved especially the second and third stanzas. I felt like I saw something evolve there… and the imagery of it all was very strong. I loved the leaping into wet fabric especially.
The metaphor of the quilt and the origins of life is so original and creative. The poem is put together and reads like blocks of quilt that come together in the end. A wonderful poem
Since the Professor appreciates both patchwork quilts and poems, he pronounces this patchwork poem a work of extraordinary precocity. And prettiness. And poeticism. Carry on, Peck!