My Mother Bought Me a Scarf

By Keetje Kuipers

It came from a catalogue. I opened
the plastic bag inside the plastic bag

and out tumbled fabric fine as flesh.
From the hem hung a thread I thought

to free with one swift tug. But this
was like pulling a river from the sea. Strand

of hair: long and black and woven all
its shimmering length. Of course

I wondered who she was. I read the tag
and closed my eyes until someone nearly

appeared to me. Let’s not pretend I knew
her life. I wore the scarf most days.

As for the river, I didn’t know what to do
with what I’d found, so I threw it away.

Headshot of Keetje Kuipers

Keetje Kuipers’ third collection, All Its Charms, was published by BOA Editions in 2019. Her poems have appeared widely, including in The New York Times Magazine, as well as the Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry anthologies. Previously a Wallace Stegner fellow, Bread Loaf fellow, and the Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Resident, Kuipers is currently Senior Editor at Poetry Northwest.

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