Needlework by Claire Walker


Emperor! Let me love you with the finest cloth,
wrap the silken thread around your loins.
Take my counsel – your outfit has never given
the right impression until now.

This garment will spare your coins
for gratitude is payment enough.

Feel how the thread snakes its way down your back
so finger-light you’d question your own perception.
Take a look, stroke the material,
it’s how a seamstress judges the design.

These robes are worthy of procession. An image
such as this deserves wider eyes.

Oh! We will snap you
in all your finery, press your clothing
into print. Imagine women having the honour
of breaking their fast with you.

I shouldn’t need to coerce you, sir, can’t you see
the way your body melts and moulds this pattern?

Do not care to sit at the loom, I will embroider it
myself for you- a gift I have learned from my kind.
Once it is done I will sew you up-
a gift I have learned from yours.


*this poem was first published on Kumquat Poetry.

Claire Walker‘s poetry has appeared in various print and online magazines including The Interpreter’s House, Ink Sweat and Tears, And Other Poems, Snakeskin and Kumquat Poetry. In June 2014 she was runner up in the 2014/2015 Worcestershire Poet Laureate Competition.

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