2 poems by Vasilka Pateras

THE HABERDASHERS

Together we leafed through catalogues 

Butterick, McCalls, Simplicity and Vogue

eye to page

a search to sew something for Dad’s village dance

I love the eveningwear glamour 

eye to page  

bias cut or gathered

finally we choose 

there were always adjustments

your eyes skip to the notions

the necessary elements 

rolls of fabric 

catalogued into colours

run through our fingers 

crepe, organza, poplin, silk

judging weight and drop

for lining the cheaper one? 

no po skapo (in our secret language)

let’s go for quality  

fabric balloons across the counter 

the shop assistant snips a nick 

then rip

we colour match thread – Gutermann (the best)

you lick your fingertips

dollar bills on the counter

I visit the great wall of buttons

red and black Scottish terriers 

index finger caressing their outline

you eye the yarn

what will you knit?

at the display of bridal charms

turning horseshoes, love hearts, ballet shoes and blue garters

will I ever wear one?

The pattern books are no longer

yet our bond was fastened in sewing.

Note: translation from Macedonian po skapo – more expensive

THE SIMPLE AND THE CYCLICAL

A siren’s scarlet ribbons 

unravel in the wind 

evening’s dusk where

nothing can tame her 

stars gather in conversation 

a raspberry macaroon sky

we have moved away

become distant 

in the grey flannel light

of air travel and the phantasmal world of commodities

forgotten the simple and the cyclical

in the sound bites of ‘these unprecedented times

shepherded by new laws 

confined to limed white walls

I look out through bevelled glass

dust off board games and badminton sets

play swings in the backyard

a missive to oneself in solitude

I am still here –

drinking tea from a porcelain blue cup.

About the contributor

Vasilka Pateras is a Melbourne-based poet and emerging writer whose work is published in n-SCRIBE and Mediterranean Poetry. She regularly reads as part of the Melbourne Spoken Word community.

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