Needles and Thread

Needles and Thread

I don’t know his name, the young and handsome priest,

but for years I have watched him

nod to the soft-faced girl

who manages the alteration shop.


She, at five till eight, makes her way

a little closer to the window,

fixes her hair and her posture,

picks up her needle and thread.


He, glancing in as he walks

from Orchard Avenue to Meridian Street

toward Our Lady Church of God,

his bible tight beneath his arm.


Across the street, beyond the broken sidewalk,

I watch them through my stained glass window

feeling a little like God—

a little more like the devil.


Part of me wants to do a good deed,

deliver him from temptation

and tell him a shortcut to the church—

left on Vine Street, down the alley behind the butcher shop.


But I’d rather look up one morning

through the smooth and colored glass

to find him beating on her door with one hand,

waving a copy of McCullough’s “Thorn Birds” in the other.


I want to see all that humility, strength and resolve

break down into something recklessly human.

I want her to unlock her door.

I want her to let him in early.


I want to see her calm hands

rise to soothe his tortured brow.

I want to see the expression a face makes when years

of anticipation dissolve with a tender, longed-for touch.


So if her shop was vacant tomorrow,

if the closed sign was never turned to open—

if there were people lined up with pants and dresses

whispering and peering into the large dark windows


and if by eight o’clock the priest hadn’t passed,

crushing the autumn leaves beneath his polished black shoes

on his way to pray for the sins of others,

then I’d know it wasn’t sickness or coincidence,


but that they’d both found something like heaven

existing on an escapable street,

something so beautiful

it had to be imagined.


So I hope he’ll forgive me, the young and handsome priest,

if I give in to my temptation

to throw open my door, step into the scene—

“Go home!”  I want to yell. “Rip out some seams!”




DeMaris Gaunt





Published by demarisgaunt

I currently live in Greenwood, Indiana. I love to listen to music, books on CD, podcasts or NPR as I work in my studio.  My favorite artists are Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper. I love poetry, but only the good stuff that isn’t so abstract I can’t understand it. Abstraction better lends itself to visual art, I think. Stephen Dunn is my favorite poet. He’s said just about anything that can be said about the inner workings of the heart and mind. My favorite novel is Atonement by Ian McEwan. My all time favorite band is The Cure. I love science, and anything that relates to how the mind works. I don’t believe in the supernatural. If I could meet anyone in the world, it would be Richard Dawkins or Steven Pinker. If you don’t buy my art or read my poetry, buy one of their books. It will enrich if not change your life.  My favorite things to do are hiking, kayaking and camping. My favorite food is so common, I’ll keep you in suspense (It starts with a P). I prefer chocolate to vanilla. Green is my favorite color. I have an aversion to planning or scheduling of any kind, and I live for spontaneous adventures! Telephone conversations make me anxious, and I avoid them at almost all cost. I had a happy childhood. I’m having a pretty fantastic adulthood. I have every intention of seeing my 100th birthday, after which I will happily relinquish my guts to the future of medicine. Cheers! ~DeMaris

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