I am reading a book for work
and you are checking
the camping equipment,
the tin saucepans
nestled into each other,
plastic shapes of
spoon and fork.

A sleeping bag has a rip in it.
I am still reading.
You tell me there is a hole
and I tell you where the sewing kit is –
a rabble of threads, needles half in, half out
of packets, you are amused
by the show of how much I care, how
often I sew.

The next time I look up – you had gone quiet –
you are sewing the tear
with neat stitches

with each stitch I feel something rip a little
as I read, and you sew.

Soon you will nestle
the children into
bed because
I have a
conference call.

Stella Hervey Birrell