Literary Orphans

“Aunt Suzie and the village” by Claudia Serea

Aunt Suzie and the village

In the dead of winter, there wasn’t much to do and no TV to watch, so I took up crocheting.
I crocheted replicas of all the people in the village: of Aunt Suzie, Old Man Gheorghe, my neighbor Lulu, my cousin Elena reading a crocheted book, the priest, the policeman, Baba Marina, the ghost from the cemetery, everyone. I crocheted their eyeglasses, headscarves, clothes, their cheeks and lips, their hair.


I crocheted Aunt Suzie’s dog from brown, fuzzy yarn and her flock of geese from feathery
white and gray threads. And, when Aunt Suzie died, I crocheted her organs from bright red
and brown silk, and her skeleton, complete with ivory teeth, floppy ribs, and soft phalanges.
I crocheted her brain, ruffled and creased with all her cloudy yarn thoughts and convoluted synapses.


I assembled her body on the dining room table, each organ nestled in a crinkly silk sack.
The heart was the last to go in, knotted and intricate, with all the blood threads laced
through the body. People said I had too much time on my hands, but what do they know?


I told them, Fate crochets us all the time with colorful threads. She links the day with
the night, mother with child, spring with summer with fall with winter, and life with death:
one loop, slip stitch, chain, turn, join two stitches, repeat. She drives her hook through
my brother and me, and we both hang by a thread. Then by another. Loop, stitch, chain. Repeat. Fate has too much time on her hands.


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Claudia Serea’s poems and translations have been published in  Field, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, The Malahat Review, Oxford Poetry, and elsewhere. She is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Twoxism, a collaboration with visual artist Maria Haro (8 thHouse Publishing, 2018). Serea received the 2013 New Letters Readers Award, the Levure Littéraire 2014 Performance Award, and several honorable mentions for poems and chapbooks. Her poems have been translated in French, Italian, Arabic, and Farsi, and have been featured in The Writer’s Almanac. She is a founding editor of National Translation Month and sheco-hosts The Williams Poetry Readings.

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