“Sheet Bend” by Jonathan Glenn Travelstead, published in The Poeming Pigeon: Love Poems, to be released December 1, 2017 by The Poetry Box.
~ The sheet bend, or weaver’s knot,
connects two ropes of differing material & thickness.
It is commonly used for securing sails.
The instructions on Google begin, say Form a bight
in the thicker, blue rope, then pass the red,
thinner rope through, then behind the blue tail.
As soon as it’s read, I’ve forgotten all but the ropes’ color:
one red, the other blue as the fish in Dr Suess’ pond.
Their relationship, bipartisan
for how each body begins defi ning the other’s properties.
I don’t have ropes to practice, so I rewrite
the instructions in a way I will remember later:
Make a ‘J’ from the larger of two ropes, pass the little ‘j’
through the closed hook … walk the rabbit
‘round the tree.
Note: Lacking tension, lovers & sheet bends slip,
work loose of their promises. Like Frost’s farmers who meet
once each year to mend the frayed boundaries
between their lands, we make routine the repair
of our bends, lace them tight as one sensimilla vine
snugging another. Sisal, kernmantle, hemp, & nylon.
Our heart’s knots require dressing. Your own name
& the name you take needs tending to with loving care.
Every pairing, every doubled strand.
Every coupled thing needs four hands for going over
every woven thing.
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