An Ode to the Handkerchief

How long have you been sitting in this box? Mice nesting amoung your ancient softness. Dust floating in and around you?

The hands that stitched your hems in were busy and efficient. Thoughts floating above as you waited to be finished.

To then be what? A display? A gift? A tear catcher? A memory?

You all sit here now with me and I get to lay my eyes upon you. Memorizing your scent under the heat of the iron. Your wobbled edge from a million washings. Your mouse nibbles. Your strength and weaknesses; I see and cherish them all.

The tight machine stitched edges, the colorful block prints of florals. The delicate lace work carefully pinned and woven long ago against a cushion. The careful perfect of the cross stitched flower. The cheerful crisp of the crocheted edging.

I unfold, admire, soak and carefully bathe each of you. Anticipate your quick drying. My energetic and thoughtful sorting. Just to pile you all together again in my box.

Time moves on and I think of what will become of each of you. Knowing that to separate you all to far flung places isn’t what’s needed. But to keep you all together. To be admired. Framed. To help you shine once again like a permanent flower garden or stained glass window.

Some of you are 40 years old. Some of you are 200 years old. You’ve all seen things. Been held. Heard it all. I look at you and wonder where you’ve been. The delicate but strong swift fingers that helped you become.

I pull you out again. Smooth out your wrinkles. Dance you around your forever new home and then fasten you into place amongst friends. I use threads as old as most of you, give you a protective backing and then give you one last vocation to shine.

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