346: Stitching (Rita Dove & Linda Tuhiwai Smith)

“After all, there’s no need 
to say anything

at first. An orange, peeled
and quartered, flares

like a tulip on a wedgewood plate
Anything can happen.”
                -Rita Dove, from “Flirtation”

                Try this: imagine a three hundred foot thread that can slip through anything. Hold one end in your hand, and then weave that thread through all the different ‘spaces’ around you. I imagine the thread going down into the openness beneath my floorboards, and up through a light bulb. I imagine it arching out through the glass of my window and around a bird perched on a branch, and down into the ground along roots I can’t see. I imagine it going through the gas tank in my car and the garbage can by the driveway and into the crawl space beneath the next house.
                I’ve been reading Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s Decolonizing Methodologies, and one of the thoughts I keep coming back to is the strange construction of “space.” Constructing a ‘space’ often involves constructing what’s appropriate there: there are things we do in classrooms and kitchens and bathrooms and livingrooms and on the porch, as though they were all separate. As though the world’s cut into pieces. As though we weren’t sharing lives that weave through all of them. I started imagining that long string as a way of stitching the world back together. Or rather, of realizing that the world was never separate. I just pretended it was.
                Instead of space, I’ve been thinking of place. Here. Where I am. An orange, peeled, stitches me to the tree and the farmer who grew it, to the truck that carried it and the grocery where I bought it, to the garbage can where I’ll put its peel. Maybe it’s in this place, all tied together, that all these anythings happen.

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