Mama sits under the hanging lamp with her eyeglasses on,
fingers feeding fabric steadily
beneath the pulsing needle.
She shows me how to cut, to sew,
edge against edge,
stitch after stitch.
Remove the pins, snip the thread,
finish this square and trade it for the next.
In the end, there are eighty-eight of them
joined neatly together
they lie atop the twin xl in my new dorm room
and I trace the seams with my fingertips:
patterned squares cuddle up next to each other like cottages down the lane,
stitches weave through like picket fences,
and blues and pinks spill like smoke from a chimney.
One fall morning, I trek up the hill at the edge of campus
and breathe heavily at the top.
In the valley below,
houses spill like thimbles across fabric,
fog presses down like thick cotton,
and the trees thread up and through.
I will take each square of this new-city fabric
like mama taught me
until I know every edge and every color
until I can lay this landscape across my lap
and trace the streetlights of its seams.
Caroline Fuller is a sophomore at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. She enjoys playing frisbee, dancing, and trying new restaurants in the city. Her writing can also be found in Germ Magazine and Teen Ink.