Handmade Dresses

In the process of moving from one house to another, my daughters and I are turning every closet inside out. I urge the girls to pass along what they don’t want: books, outgrown clothing, costume jewelry…. and then I pack away the tiny baby dresses my mother sewed, sealing them up in a cardboard box and writing keep.

We’re three females going about our lives, moving from one house to another, and I keep reminding myself lucky, lucky, as I listen to VPR, the airwaves filled with so many people and so much upheaval, the tenor of the country and of the world uncertain, fraught.

Lucky, we are, moving not far, to a house surrounded by blooming perennials.

Here’s a fragment from a poem I found in a box, given to me by a friend, when my little girl wore those dresses.

…Even as his hands broke
the earth he worked, his heart
was fallow, asleep…
I turned and told him,
Yes. Plant. Plant everything
as if you had eternity
for you will die tomorrow.

– Arra Lynn Ross, “He Comes and Asks to Plant”

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Montpelier, Vermont

By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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