she's designer

people make the clothes; clothes do
not make a person

— Zhang Nah
pull back the bamboo curtain
she holds scissors like shears
to the throat
of the mannequin

rips stitches
to remove an olive collar
hitches up a hem
frays a cuff

leftover fabric for a belt
she sews late into the night
on grandmother’s machine

her lamp casts yellow light
through wafts of smoke
cigarette burning
in the ashtray

from the cushion
on her wrist
she plucks a pin
with her teeth

East no longer looks West
Fashion Week over
her upcycled clothes sell
to help rural women

her designs stitch
a future to the past
she won’t forget where
she’s come from

red heart beats strong
she’s designer
rainbows of ribbons
butterflies on strings

Natasha Adams (Western Australia)

First published in Creatrix

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