With my pot of fish bladder glue
and my fishbone needle, my fish thread,
I am sewing my mother’s nightie.
All my childhood I sew, mending it until bedtime
and each morning it’s in tatters.
I mutter like a Siberian seamstress
as I scrape and soften new skins.
I study clouds to paint on her hem.
I came from the waters of her tummy to do this,
but each night she lies like a gutted fish
for Father the fishmonger. He strokes her
as if she’s a salmon on a bed of ice
that should be dead but is still twitching.