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Approaches to Needlework Theory

Clay Matthews

A woman stitches a woman stitching
a needlework pattern of a stalk of wheat.

Outside the sun goes up, the sun goes down.
One of these things is not like the other.

I have felt over three thousand shades
of blue. For instance, shade #1,466:

a darkness without the hope of navy,
a time when I was a bit nervous

I owned a gun, the trigger shade #2,003.
Recent studies have attempted to answer

the number of colors a human eye
can perceive. At the press conference,

a scientist in a lab coat approached the microphone,
and said, As far as we can tell, the number

is millions and millions. Cheers for the scientific
method. Long live the King.

The woman begins to take shape.
The wheat takes on the hue of early summer.

The fabric store sells nine variations of autumn,
two winters and over a thousand springs.

Inside I overheard two ladies at the counter
arguing over the question of authenticity.

One lady said There’s only one perfect color
for any emotion. The other said No one shade

could ever capture in the absolute.
I said I’ve been beyond three thousand shades

of blue, and they both looked at me
and went back to cutting long sheets of silk.

We have the image and we have the reaction to.
I can call this a woman stitching a woman

stitching wheat but what it really means to me
is I miss the smell of my grandmother’s kitchen.

I translate. I lose things. I turn on the water
and walk away. I go blue. I go blue-blue.

I get lonesome and grow sad that I’m unable
to recollect the exact color of shades #1, 2 and 3.

Clay Matthews

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