Being the youngest
the girl had to wear
her sister’s hand-me-downs,
but her father would return
from his yearly trek
to the city with cloth
in their favourite colours
for a new dress.

Once he came back
with a silk worm
and its secrets
from a sailor in the café –
the wildest claims about
how they could have
all the dresses in the world
and maybe some money
for bread or a fishing net.

They laid the silk worm
on the table – on a scrap
of muslin – and everyone
gathered around it,
with awe perhaps or disbelief.
They gave it mulberry leaves
water and shade.
But of course the caterpillar
didn’t survive its journey,
or their dreams.




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