Stitching Wichita

She had spent all her adult life holding a needle and thread. She had sewed and embroidered all her trousseau and her wedding dress by hand; stitched up holes in shirts and overalls; darned her stockings and his socks until her eyes smarted. Every evening, the needle in her fingers went up and down, like her lineman on his ladder, stitching up their life, weaving secret spells to keep him safe while waiting for his call.

One day, the call didn’t come; only his broken body on the back of the company pick-up. She spent a whole evening tacking his shroud with neat, tight stitches, her mouth set firmly, a dam holding back a flood of tears.

Each day now, she trudges lonely, rain-soaked roads, lined with sagging wires and endless poles, listening for his song, a hum on the wind, hopelessly trying to darn the hole in her heart.

Kim M. Russell, 4th August 2019

Wichita Wife
Source unknown

My response to Poets United Telling Tales with Magaly Guerrero: a Pantry of Prose, #6 ~ Stitches

Magaly is back this Sunday with the sixth month of the Pantry of Prose, exploring one of her favourite words: stitch(es). She invites us to write a new short story, essay or article (in 313 words or fewer), which uses ‘stitches’ in any of the ways she has described. As a secondary option, we can take one of our old poems, which fits this week’s theme, and turn it into a new short story.

I took an old poem from April 2017, ‘Wichita Wife’, and have rewritten it as prose.

32 thoughts on “Stitching Wichita

  1. Wow! This was wonderfully done! You fully fleshed out her character in the short space, and dealt the devastating blow so neatly.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kim this is lovely 🙂

    I’m not sure if you are aware of this or not, but there is a website that is stripping the WordPress reader and posting our works on their site. We think it is somewhere in India. Anyway I notice that your work, this post too, has been used, probably without your permission. Look at and search your website and you’ll see what I’m describing. Some of us have added a badge to our posts to try and deter them and have also filed DCMA forms to have their host take them down. I’ll send you the info through your contact page. You might want to alert D’Verse bartenders too. Just thought I’d share this with you as a heads up. Many of us are writers and our work is proprietary. 😔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment, Christine, and for letting me know about tygpresscom. I’m on my Kindle at the moment but will let dVerse Poets know later today. I will also find out about a badge and DCMA forms too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kim, your story tugs the heart. This image is so affecting “She spent a whole evening tacking his shroud with neat, tight stitches, her mouth set firmly, a dam holding back a flood of tears.” I can only imagine this kind of pain. There’s a saying, “Sewing mends the soul.” I hope the Wichita wife managed to mend a part, if not whole, of the hole in her heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I want to hug her or walk with her or both…

    The tone and pacing are just perfect. You give us a bit at a time, let us get close, so when the hurt comes we are all the way to our necks in it. I love that about a story, to feel it real.

    And your chosen image rocks.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The poem (which I read second) is very poignant, conveying much in a few lines. The fleshing out in prose, with so much more detail, nearly made me cry. Though the two writings have the same subject, they are so different, and each complete in and for itself – fascinating!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A heart-breaking tale, but beautifully written. The story also reminds me of the song “Wichita Lineman”.
    In a sense, the lineman is someone who stitches up the countryside with wires so that we can have electricity or telephone lines. i used to work in telecommunications and can relate to that, though most of our lines are underground.

    Liked by 1 person

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