Ruth Little

Mending an old T-shirt

She wore it in the photo with her sister in Beirut 
18 years away
bullet holes spattered the walls behind
and again in France, that same year
on the barge beneath the lock’s sheer face
arms outstretched for mooring lines
moth holes under the arms
I crosshatch in fine pink cotton thread 
each sister since 
fallen from these photographs
into beds and graves
sutures of cotton along the threadbare shoulder
blanket stitch around the fraying neck
each slow threading through 
dementia unpicks
yesterday, cancer threw off the lines
that held the other here in place
the one who remains does not know 
the other has no more need of a pink T-shirt
or that this pink T-shirt