Addressing the flaxen spirit, not yet linen Threshing We come from deep loam, from fields of green, blue heads bobbing. To harvest true selves and loosen seeds within, permit wind to winnow away the clutter. Retting To release fiber from stem, baptize in slow-moving waters, or even dew. Do not over-ret, for, as with anything, there is danger of growing weak, and breaking. After the retting the scutching begins. Baptism is never enough. To transform woody selves to strands of silky smooth, press against the sharp edge of life. Prepare to spin with the moaning earth. Heckling is the hardest part, but it must be done— we must separate from our selves to be spun into one. Be still and comb the heart, untangle worry, part from grudges, brush away the last stray residues of this hardened life we cling to. Nothing to weigh us down, readied now, to be woven. Linen women, with nod to St. Catherine of Alexandria, patron saint of seamstresses We are made for summer. Stronger wet than dry, as hot and humid descend, we resist carpet beetles and fungus-fed men, and, like Catherine, refuse to shrink from the sun. We’ll remain cool before emperors, call out their puckered thinking, refuse to slip into their broken, biased, stitching. Let Spirit steam our hard to reach places, round plackets and pockets and buttoned collars. We press into this wrinkled life and stretch. Designed for the long or short trip— no one knows which—we unpack hand-stitched hats made to complement each woman. Some of us boast floppy brims, others trimmed with grosgrain ribbon, each style crushable, able to roll and travel. Despite hours of iron, we soon crumple. Come forth, well-worn ones, for the linen maker knows each crease and calls us to the light, rumpled, woven.